A mutated species of hominid now grows up very quickly (perhaps 3x its normal growth rate) has a natural regeneration factor. Like an axolotl*, it can regrow complex structures that it loses, like arms and legs. It would eat a lot more while regrowing structures.

Aside from cancer, what kind of diseases or drawbacks could this rapid growth lead to or facilitate?

*axolotls can regrow lost limbs over the course of a month or so. I'm not trying to explain unrealistic Wolverine-esque rapid regeneration.

  • $\begingroup$ My instincts say that you would have to have a simpler biology, because it has to be replaceable when lost. However, I have no evidence to back up this intuition. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Sep 9, 2016 at 1:57
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon that's the case for most regenerating organisms, but the axolotl is a notable creature because it can regrow complex structures. The arm of an axolotl actually has little fingers and stuff. joannechan.wikispaces.com/file/view/amphibamus588.jpg/238563475/… $\endgroup$
    – Tony
    Sep 9, 2016 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ I say in the absence of environmental hazard such as radiation and predators, nature always want to tell us that life isn't about fairness so some people do research on stem cell hoping one day we would see albino human :) $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Sep 9, 2016 at 2:32

2 Answers 2


The shortened childhood associated with faster development would make education and socialization problematic. With only 5 to 7 years of childhood/adolescence most individuals will be very poorly educated.

  • $\begingroup$ Surely education could just last longer? $\endgroup$
    – Tony
    Sep 9, 2016 at 1:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Tony - Well, it could, but this implies a prolonged period when the individuals are physically adult but still unproductive, With sexual maturity will come widespread pregnancies by couples or single mothers who are completely unable to support their children. Look at the effects on some segments of American society which effectively operate this way. $\endgroup$ Sep 9, 2016 at 2:01

Growing Pains and Stretch Marks Periods of relatively rapid growth (like teenage growth spurts and pregnancy) stress human tissues by stretching and even creating microtears. Magnifying the growth rate would magnify this effect. Growing up would be even more uncomfortable!

Growth Rate Imbalances Bilateral asymmetry, like my son's leg-length discrepancy, would be magnified by an accelerated growth rate. By shortening the time in which medical professionals can respond, this condition would be far more problematic. In instances of internal asymmetry, such as mismatched lungs or heart chambers, this would have fatal consequences.

Mismatches to Sexual Maturity If you posit that the time to sexual maturity is similarly shortened, people would have less life experience before being subject to reproductive stresses. Emotional development in this scenario would be radically different. If you assume that sexual maturity is unaffected by this accelerated growth, you end up with puberty AFTER physical growth; imagine 25-year-old teenagers. Either way, society likely becomes more chaotic.

Impaired Proprioception Even present-day children often find it hard to be aware of their body's capabilities and limitations as they grow. The big, clumsy teenager is a trope for a reason. Accelerating physical growth would increase this impairment, increasing childhood injury and death rates.

Child Labour For many cultures, children supply your family's workforce. Decreasing the time from conception to physical maturity will increase this cultural tendency, and increase its incidence in what we think of as more advanced cultures. This will come with attendant physicals risks to those children.

Nutrient Requirements Even if you posit that the rate of nutrient absorption failure in a population remains constant, accelerated growth will stress these cases further. Nutrient deficiencies will appear earlier, and be more severe. Increased caloric intake would also push this species towards a more carnivorous diet, along with all the attendant health risks and benefits.


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