In a Doodle on Sunday, Google recognised Turkana Human, which was discovered in 1984 in Kenya’s Lake Turkana Basin, as a fossil that revolutionised human knowledge.
Who is Turkana Boy?
The fossil, also known as Turkana Boy, lived approximately 1.6 million years and is believed to have been around the age of 10 years old. Google marked the fossil “the most complete ever found.” The fossil allowed scientists to find out a lot of information about the body size, body shape, and growth rates of Homo erectus. The skeleton was 40% complete, based on the principle that bones from one side of the body can tell what the same bone from the other side looked like even if it’s missing, according to scientists.
Turkan Boy reportedly had a disability that hindered his movement. However, his body showed long legs and narrow shoulders typical of humans who live in hot, dry climates today. Long legs helped Homo erectus, which is the first known species to spread widely within Africa and throughout Asia, walk and run long distances. It is known as the earliest ancestor of modern humans.
Turkana Human facial features indicated the consumption of a high-quality diet to sustain a large brain, although it did not quite indicate the normal size of a modern human brain.
How did Turkana Human die?
The ancient fossil’s vertebrae, which forms the spine, had been injured, thus forming limited movement is suspected to be what might have contributed to the death. Turkana Human’s death is not known.
His second molars, otherwise known as the wisdom teeth, had erupted, but not his third, indicating he was not an adult. His pelvis indicated that he was a male. He was 1.6 m tall and weighed 48 kg when he died. Had he reached adulthood, he might have grown even way taller.
Turkana Boy’s cranial capacity at death was 880 cubic centimeters, and according to scientists, it would have reached 909 cubic centimeters if he had grown into adulthood.