Paranthropus

A recent shape analysis on the endocasts of OH5 and SK1585 (two members of the genus Paranthropus) suggests that their overall morphology is perfectly within the range of variation of extant chimps. In contrast, STS5 (a specimen that is representative of the genus Australopithecus) displays an endocranial shape which is intermediate (exactly halfway!) between chimps and modern humans, and out of the range of both genera. Therefore, this similarity between Paranthropus and Pan may suggest a lack of derived endocranial traits in the robust australopiths, at least in relationship to the human lineage. Of course, paranthrops had a very specialized (and odd!) skull, so we must consider that their important bony superstructures may have introduced very peculiar and autoapomorphic constraints in the morphogenetic relationships between face and braincase, influencing the brain gross morphology in some specific regions (like for example, at the frontal lobes).

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