Human Growth pp 153-166 | Cite as

Evolution of the Human Growth Curve

  • Elizabeth S. Watts

Abstract

After many years of languishing in disrepute, the relationship of ontogeny to phylogeny is once again becoming a legitimate, if not a popular, field of study (Gould, 1977). Ontogeny represents one of the last frontiers of evolutionary anthropology, lying as it does at the interface of genetics, anatomy, and ecology. Fossil specimens of immature individuals can provide information about the evolution of skeletal size, proportions, and developmental stages. But comparative study of living animals is essential for understanding the dynamics of the growth process itself, including its relationship to genetical and physiological underpinnings and the ecological context in which it unfolds. Relatively little is known about the growth and development of primates other than humans. Nevertheless, it now appears that the basic patterns of human growth are shared to a large degree with nonhuman primates. And, at least among the catarrhines, the shape of the growth curve is similar, right down to the finer details (Watts and Gavan, 1982). Therefore, attempts to explain the evolutionary origins and significance of the human growth process cannot proceed without knowledge of the growth of other primates.

Keywords

Resid Posit Melatonin Lution Tempo 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth S. Watts
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyTulane UniversityNew OrleansUSA

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