Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Growth Suppression Model

Hypothesis that human children are small-for-age compared with other primates. In this model, human children are regarded as growth-suppressed, and the adolescent growth spurt in AMHs represents a period of catchup growth. This pattern of growth has been interpreted as having two advantages over other primates:
(1) as channeling energy into other metabolic and behavioral activities (such as brain growth and learning); and
(2) as eliciting parental care (rather than competition) from adults, thus prolonging childhood without altering the timing of subsequent life stages. The tall stature of the Nariokotome youth (Homo erectus) has been interpreted as possible evidence that the distinctly human pattern of suppression-spurt had not yet evolved.

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