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J Hum Evol. 2000 May;38(5):695-717.

Early hominid brain evolution: a new look at old endocasts.

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  • 1Department of Anthropology, University at Albany, SUNY, Albany, NY 12222, USA.


Early hominid brain morphology is reassessed from endocasts of Australopithecus africanus and three species of Paranthropus, and new endocast reconstructions and cranial capacities are reported for four key specimens from the Paranthropus clade. The brain morphology of Australopithecus africanus appears more human like than that of Paranthropus in terms of overall frontal and temporal lobe shape. These new data do not support the proposal that increased encephalization is a shared feature between Paranthropus and early Homo. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that Australopithecus africanus could have been ancestral to Homo, and have implications for assessing the tempo and mode of early hominid neurological and cognitive evolution.

Copyright 2000 Academic Press.

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