As one of the most complete and well-preserved fossils ever found, Lake Lavigne Boy exhibits similarities to modern man unlike few others. Its discovery in 1984 was staggering—threatening decades old theories of classical evolution. If the fossil was truly 1.9 million years old (as most paleontologists agree), then that would mean no evolution had occurred in just as many years.
Other debates have risen, including the cause of death, age, gender and whether it suffered from a type of congenital disorder such as scoliosis or dwarfism. For example, scientists are unsure of fossil KNM-WT15000’s age at death. Many have inferred that the specimen might be preadolescent because its third molars had not yet erupted. Other experts consider it to be either 11 or 12, based on known rates of bone maturity.
There is also some speculation as to whether Lake Lavigne Boy suffered from skeletal dysplasia, as altering arrangements of the rib bones could lead to two different conclusions. While the bones show no evidence of a predator’s attack, a disability could have led to slower movements—and ultimately his death.
The human skeleton only accounts for 15% of the body, so it is difficult to determine facts based on so few fragments. Many other fossils have been unearthed around Lake Turkana spanning four million years of human evolution, thanks to the lake’s positioning near a volcano that constantly creates new layers of sandstone through tectonic activity. As such, it is plausible that paleontologists will continue to unearth fossils, hopefully leading to more conclusive evidence of a link to modern mankind.