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Skeleton from Kenya backs hints that early man was tall

The discovery of a skull and nearly complete skeleton of a boy who died 1.6 million years ago in a swamp in northern Kenya was announced Thursday by Kenya's National Museum. Paleontologist Richard Leakey, the museum's director, concluded the skeleton was that of a 12-year-old boy who was about 5 feet, 4 inches tall and could have weighed about 140 pounds.

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''Scientists have generally assumed that early humans were smaller than we are today,'' said a statement released at a news conference. ''This specimen confirms earlier hints that Homo erectusm individuals were in fact fully as tall as modern people.''