Brains and endocasts

Kobayashi et al 2014In the second volume of the recent publication on dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans there are two interesting papers by Yasushi Kobayashi and colleagues on the relationships between skull, brain, and endocast. They present results from five macaques (Macaca fascicularis), comparing head, skull, brain, and endocranial mould, by traditional dissection and digital imaging. In the first article they show a remarkable correspondence between brain and endocast morphology. The principal sulci and gyri of the cortex can be easily recognized on the mould, with a reliability which is definitely encouraging for those working in paleoneurology. Of course, we know that in small brains the endocranial imprints are more evident than in large brains, and the same comparison in hominids may be more difficult. In the second paper, they analyze the correspondence between sutures and sulci (the coronal suture and the arcuate sulcus, in particular). Again, results are reassuring for those making brain inferences from fossil remains, because at least in this case the spatial relationship is constant and reliable. These are essential data in paleoneurology, and we need more studies like these, with more samples, more species, more features.

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