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Controlled studies of the effects of tempera­ ture on mice indicate that maturation is speeded by w a r m e r tem­ peratures. Among humans, effects of temperature on m a t u r a t i o n THE SECULAR TREND 37 have not been demonstrated. Both Eskimo girls and Nigerian girls reach menarche at about age 14V2 (Tanner, 1962). Humidity also ap­ pears to exert little influence. Girls in Assam, a hot and wet climate, reach menarche at the same age as girls in the hot and dry Burmese climate (Foil, 1961).

Estradiol probably controls these fat deposits, since girls experience them to a greater extent than adolescent boys. About two-thirds of the boys in one study (Stolz & Stolz, 1951) showed noticeable fat increases in early adolescence. Boys, too, produce some estradiol, which could be responsible for their fat increase. By the spring after her 12th birthday, Claire had noticed that her pubic hair, although still very sparse, had grown considerably darker, coarser, and more curled. And by the middle of a u t u m n , her pubic hair resembled the adult pattern.

There is a great deal of individual variation in age of men­ arche, even apart from cases of precocious puberty brought on by malfunctions in the central nervous system. The earliest menarche on record was at just under one year of age. At the other extreme, a few girls do not experience their first menstruation until they are in their 20s (Johnston, 1974). /2—15V2 years, while average age is just un­ der 13 (Faust, 1977; Nicolson & Hanley, 1953). 4 6 PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT AND STATUS CHANGE FIGURE 2-5 Photographs of "Claire's" development from age 10 through puberty.

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