• suture fusion;
  • vault contours;
  • cranial development;
  • heterochrony


Confusion exists regarding the developmental ages of numerous Asian and southeast Asian Homo erectus fossils because of Weidenreich's contention that Pithecanthropus fused its sutures prematurely relative to H. sapiens. I reevaluate the cranial developmental ages of the Ngandong “juveniles” (2, 5, 8, 9) based on a series of indicators of youth (superstructure development, suture development/fusion, and cranial thickness) and cranial contours. The Ngandong juveniles are compared with H. sapiens adults (n = 281) and subadults (n = 81) and with Ngandong and other H. erectus adults (n = 20) and subadults (n = 4). Cranial contours are assessed using bivariate plots of arc vs. chord measurements. All indicators suggest that Ngandong 5 and 9 are adults, whereas Ngandong 8 is an older juvenile or young adult and Ngandong 2 is a juvenile with a developmental age range of greater than 6 and less than 11 years. In addition, adult cranial contours and the pattern of contour development are similar between Ngandong adults and other H. erectus adults. There is nothing in the cranial contour data to suggest that Ngandong is, despite a relatively large brain, transitional in vault shape between H. erectus and H. sapiens. Am J Phys Anthropol 108:223–236, 1999. © 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.