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Though the teenage years are most commonly defined by raging hormones, the development of secondary sexual characteristics and attitude problems, what is unique in humans is this sudden and rapid increase in body size following a long period of very slow growth. No other primate has a skeletal growth spurt like this so late in life. Why do we?
Instant Expert: Teenagers
The teenager is a uniquely human phenomenon.
Adolescents are known to be moody, insecure, argumentative, angst-ridden, impulsive, impressionable, reckless and rebellious. Teenagers are also characterised by odd sleeping patterns, awkward growth spurts, bullying, acne and slobbish behaviour. So what could be the possible benefit of the teenage phase?
Most other animals - apes and human ancestors included - skip that stage altogether, developing rapidly from infancy to full adulthood. Humans, in contrast, have a very puzzling four-year gap between sexual maturity and prime reproductive age. Anthropologists disagree on when the teenage phase first evolved, but pinpointing that date could help define its purpose more..
Further links into the mysterious teen mind can be found here