Saltation and stasis: a model of human growth

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Science  30 Oct 1992:
Vol. 258, Issue 5083, pp. 801-803
DOI: 10.1126/science.1439787


Human growth has been viewed as a continuous process characterized by changing velocity with age. Serial length measurements of normal infants were assessed weekly (n = 10), semiweekly (n = 18), and daily (n = 3) (19 females and 12 males) during their first 21 months. Data show that growth in length occurs by discontinuous, aperiodic saltatory spurts. These bursts were 0.5 to 2.5 centimeters in amplitude during intervals separated by no measurable growth (2 to 63 days duration). These data suggest that 90 to 95 percent of normal development during infancy is growth-free and length accretion is a distinctly saltatory process of incremental bursts punctuating background stasis.

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