5 comments on “The Controversy Around Modern Humans and H. erectus

  1. Holy Cow, Is this right for Turkana Boy? “12 years old when he died and stood about 1.83 meters (6 feet) tall.”

    I had never caught that before! 6 ft at 12? Could they have misclassified an adult as a boy? Rough guess would make him 8 ft tall as a grown adult!

    This is another good article Roberto! There are some interesting conflicts with timelines they need to work out don’t they?

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    • Age ranges for his age at the time of his death range from 7 years old to 18 years old. Many researchers believe he was age 8. Recent research suggests that Turkana Boy had a shorter stature of 163 cm (5.3 ft) due to the possibility that his growth period likely differed from modern humans and he has a shorter adolescent period, which may or may not be the case frankly. However, in 1993 anthropologist Richard Leakey estimated Turkana Boy was 11-12 years old at the time of his death based on known rates of bone maturity. When anthropologists or other researchers say that some specimens of H. erectus may have stood over 6 feet Turkana Boy is one of the examples they are referring to as, indeed, in adulthood he would have stood over 7 feet and possibly 8 feet !!

      As far as the timeline there are indeed some major things that need to be worked out. Personally, I don’t think H. erectus went extinct nor do I think the Neanderthals went extinct. They were assimilated into modern humans via interbreeding. We have already found modern humans have Neanderthal DNA and I’m sure that we also have some amount of H. erectus DNA. Problem is we have no viable DNA from H. erectus fossil remains…….yet.

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  2. As Dr Peron points out above Turkana Boy is believed to be between 7-18 years old or maybe even older as we are not really sure of his age when he died. Also, the average life span of his species, Homo erectus, was probably somewhere around age 30. So if age 30 was “old age” then I would think the aging process might vary from that which we find in modern humans today. Also, he would have been expected to be adult earlier than us moderns. I’d say probably by age 14-15 he’d have been considered an adult male. It’s important we put things like this into perspective because things haven’t always been the way they are today. Most of us have great grandparents or even grandparents that were married at age 14-15 and that’s because in their times if you weren’t married by the time you were 16 you where ungraciously handed the stigma “old maid.”

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      • When looking at our ancient human ancestors or anything else it is important to see them in perspective. Things were not the same then as they are today and likely, as you say Barb, 14-15 was considered an adult and 30 was “old age.” Great points! 🙂

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