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Estimation of the Period of Childhood and Child Growth Characteristics of Pygmy Hunter-Gatherers in Southeast Cameroon

  • Taro Yamauchi
  • Izumi Hagino
Chapter
Part of the Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans Series book series (RNMH)

Abstract

Data on the growth pattern of pygmy hunter-gatherers may provide key knowledge about the mechanism of human evolution. However, only few studies have compared their growth pattern with those of modern human populations. This study aims at characterizing the growth pattern of pygmy hunter-gatherers by using a mathematical method and comparing their pattern with that of other worldwide populations. Height and weight of 626 Baka children in southeast Cameroon were measured. The nutritional status was assessed using body mass index (BMI), and the Preece-Baines function was adopted for obtaining height velocity curve and assessing growth pattern. More than 80 % participants had BMI in the normal range, and their nutritional status was considered generally good. The height velocity curves and biological parameters indicated that their adolescent growth spurts were very week. However, the periods of adolescent growth spurt of Baka children were almost similar to those of previously studied five groups. Furthermore, their growth rate during the early childhood was suggested to be very slow. The periods of childhood were the same among the modern human populations. However, a great difference was observed in the linear growth rate between the Baka and other populations.

Keywords

Adolescent growth spurt Growth pattern Period of childhood Pygmy hunter-gatherers 

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Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Human Ecology, Faculty of Health SciencesHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Human Ecology, Graduate School of Health SciencesHokkaido UniversitySapporoJapan

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