Growth spurts during puberty are not evolutionarily unique.
Up until this point, it was widely agreed that the growth spurt in body length during human adolescence is a unique evolutionary trait not found in other primates. However, a recent study published in the journal eLife Refers to many primates classifyHumans, including humans, actually experience a body weight growth spurt during adolescence. The study indicates that inconsistency may arise from methodological issues.
Mind the scale…
In their scientific work, the researchers used three approaches. First, they showed how measurement problems and incorrect comparisons between growth rates of body length (linear) and weight (volume) could lead to misleading interpretations, effectively comparing apples to oranges.
… leads to valid results
Next, the research team applied an extensively corrected approach to a large-scale data set of 258 bonobos living in the zoo. This data included weight and height growth, as well as several physiological markers related to growth and puberty. “We found clear growth spurts in body weight and body length in both sexes.
“The weight and height growth curves are consistent with each other and with patterns of testosterone and IGFBP-3 levels that are similar to adolescent hormone spikes in humans,” says first author Andreas Berganel of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology (KLIVV) at the University of Veterinary Medicine. Results.
Reinterpretation of studies provides different insights
In a third step, data published in other studies of non-human primates were reinterpreted. The results showed that the adolescent growth spurt in weight and height does not only occur in bonobos, but is very likely to occur in other monkeys as well.
“Our results underscore the importance of taking into account the laws of measurement when interpreting growth curves in general,” concludes Verena Behringer, scientist in the endocrinology laboratory at the German Primate Center and senior author of the publication. “Furthermore, our data show that pronounced adolescent human-like growth spurts in body weight and body length are found not only in bonobos but possibly also in many other non-human primates.”
Reference: “Adolescent Height Growth Spurts in Bonobos and Other Primates: Pay Attention to Scale” by Andreas Berganel, Jeroen MJ Stevens, Gottfried Hohmann, Tobias Dechner and Verena Behringer, 29 June 2023, Available here. eLife.
The study was conducted in collaboration with researchers from Odyssey University of Applied Sciences, the Antwerp Zoo Center for Research and Conservation, the University of Antwerp, the Max Planck Institutes for Evolutionary Anthropology and Animal Behaviour, and the Institute for Cognitive Sciences at Osnabrück University. . In addition, 19 zoos provided their data and contributed significantly to the success of the study.