The fossil known as KNM-WT 15000, the turkana human or turkana boy, is a complete skeleton of a young Homo ergaster who lived between 1.5 and 1.6 million years ago. It has been given the moniker “the turkana human.” This specimen has the earliest hominin skeleton, the most complete ever discovered.
What led to the discovery of the human turkana?
Kamoya Kimeu discovered it in 1984 on the bank of the Nariokotome River in Kenya, near to Lake Turkana. As a result of the finding, the skeleton was assumed to be that of a male and was referred to in some stories as “Turkana Boy.”
After the reconstruction of the bones, the Turkana boy’s appearance was similar to what is shown in the picture.
The stages of adolescence and adulthood of turkana boy
Even though the pelvis appears more consistent with male anatomy, the specimen is still in the prepubescent stage, making it impossible to determine its gender definitively. Estimates of age at death rely not only on whether the teeth or bones are utilized, but also on whether that maturity is compared to that of Homo sapiens or chimpanzees.
One of the most important contributing factors is that chimpanzees do not experience a real adolescent growth spurt. Although the first studies hypothesized that early Hominids had a development pattern similar to modern humans, more recent data from other fossils suggests that this trait was less prevalent in early Hominids. It impacts the calculation of the specimen’s age and the expected height it will attain when it reaches its complete maturity.
How did the young turkana boy pass away?
Initial investigations suggested that Turkana Boy had been born with a congenital condition, specifically either scoliosis or dwarfism. It was due to the appearance of asymmetry in the rib bones concerning the spine, which was at the time attributed to skeletal dysplasia.
In spite of this, a 2013 study revealed that the rib bones had changed and become more symmetrical in regard to the spine. An atypical configuration of the vertebrae was indicative of the early hominins. The study was published in the journal Science. On the other hand, the fossil unmistakably had lumbar disc herniation, an ailment linked to the animal’s death.
Most experts agree that Homo ergaster and Homo erectus were skilled hunters based on the fossil skeleton and other fossil evidence, such as Acheulean stone tools. Their more primitive ancestors, on the other hand, did not have these skills. If the brain had been larger, there is a good chance that the social structure would have gotten more complicated.
The portion of the brain responsible for speech, known as Broca’s area, can be located by looking for a little angle on the skull in this region. Thoracic vertebrae of turkana human are more narrowly spaced than those of Homo sapiens. Because of this, he would have had less motor control over the thoracic muscles employed in modern humans to modulate respiration to facilitate the sequencing of complicated vocalizations upon single exhalations.
A crucial factor is that, unlike modern humans, chimpanzees do not experience a distinct adolescent growth spurt. While the early study suggested that early Homo sapiens possessed a development pattern similar to contemporary humans, more recent data from additional fossils suggests that this trait was less prevalent in early Homo sapiens. It impacts the calculation of the specimen’s age and likely adult height.
An analysis of the typical turkana boy
Homo eragaster was a species or subspecies of ancient humans that lived in Africa during the early Pleistocene epoch. However, they have since become extinct. Studies have indicated that he was significantly taller than their forebears, despite being famous for their height.
There is also evidence that he might not have had any hair or was born with naked skin. This adaptation is thought to have been beneficial to them in the hot and arid climate they lived in.