BACKGROUND This is a study on the growth of subgroups of normal children, maturing early or late, in the variables height, leg and sitting height, arm length, biiliac and bihumeral width. While a longer growth period affects adult height only marginally, less is known about the other variables. It is also of interest to see in what way a shorter growth period is compensated by a higher velocity. METHODS Out of 120 boys and 112 girls followed from 4 weeks until adulthood, subgroups of 40 boys and 37 girls were formed with respect to the average timing (across variables) of the pubertal spurt as an indicator of maturity. RESULTS Only leg height shows a smaller adult size for early maturers. The shorter growth period is compensated by a higher prepubertal velocity and a higher level in pubertal years. The pubertal peak is a little larger for early maturing boys but not for girls. CONCLUSIONS There is an inherent pacemaker for growth that leads to the same adult size for a shorter growth period via a higher basic intensity. Legs are an exception since late maturers have, on average, longer legs as adults.