Posts Tagged 'Australopithecus'

Little Foot

The endocast of the australopith StW 573 is pretty complete, and now Amélie Beaudet and colleagues have published a very detailed and comprehensive anatomical analysis of its features. For many paleoneurological traits we still miss a reliable knowledge on intra- and inter-specific variation but, according to what we can currently see in Australopithecus, Paranthropus and chimpanzees, StW 573 does not display derived sulcal patterns in the frontal and parietal regions. Its overall endocranial form resembles the morphology of some Paranthropus specimens, although in this case there are still some issues on deformation and possible taphonomic effects (specially at the frontal bone). The study supplies a careful description of the vascular patterns, in particular for the middle meningeal artery. In humans, only our species has generally a complex vascular network, while vessels are more scarce and less connected in extinct human taxa. Nonetheless, these same vessels (or, at least, their analogous networks) are more developed in apes. Therefore, australopiths are a key group to understand what happened with these traits, and to assess the polarity of these features in the evolution of distinct hominoid branches.

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Australopithecus africanus

Cranial capacity estimations and inferences in fossil species suffer two main limits: incompleteness of the endocranial anatomy and small sample size. Neubauer and colleagues have now published a very detailed paper on these factors, by using Australopithecus africanus as case-study. They provide new figures for the endocranial volume of this taxon, quantifying the effect of incompleteness and small samples on the estimations. This is not only useful to enhance our knowledge on australopiths’ cranial capacity, but it represents a real quantitative advance in paleoneurology as scientific discipline.


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  • NEANDERTAL COGNITION OFFERED ONLINE NOW AT THE CENTER FOR COGNITIVE ARCHAEOLOGY @ UCCS
    How did Neandertals experience their world? How did their cognition and culture differ from ours? Were they pragmatic? Callous or cold-hearted? Did they love, were they charitable? Were they tough? Dogmatic? Xenophobic? Join Professor Frederick L Coolidge for our online course in the Neandertal Cognition. Together, we will explore the mind of some of our … C […]

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  • Cercopithecid parietal lobes
    The parietal cortical association areas have increased in size and complexity in primates, and their evolution is thought to be influenced by exploratory and feeding behavior. Nonetheless, studies considering parietal lobe morphology and macroscopic anatomy among primate taxa are scarce. Cercopithecidae represent an interesting group for evolutionary studies […]

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  • Researchers develop non-invasive deep brain stimulation method
    Researchers at MIT have developed a new method of electrically stimulating deep brain tissues without opening the skullSince 1997, more than 100,000 Parkinson’s Disease patients have been treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS), a surgical technique that involves the implantation of ultra-thin wire electrodes. The implanted device, sometimes referred to as […]

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