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Am J Phys Anthropol. 2000 Sep;113(1):111-8.

Endocranial capacity of the bodo cranium determined from three-dimensional computed tomography.

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Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology/Anthropology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


The 600,000-year-old cranium from Bodo, Ethiopia, is the oldest and most complete early Middle Pleistocene hominid skull from Africa. "Virtual endocast" models created by three-dimensional computed tomography (CT) techniques indicate an endocranial capacity of about 1,250 cc for this cranium (with a reasonable range between approximately 1,200-1,325 cc, depending on how missing portions of the basicranial region are reconstructed). From these determinations, several important implications emerge concerning current interpretations of "tempo and mode" in early hominid brain evolution: 1) already by the early Middle Pleistocene, at least one African hominid species, Homo heidelbergensis, had reached an endocranial capacity within the normal range of modern humans; 2) in spite of its large endocranial capacity, estimates of Bodo's encephalization quotient fall below those found in a large sample of Homo sapiens (both fossil and recent) and Neandertals; and 3) the greatest burst of brain expansion in the Homo lineage may not have been in the last several hundred thousand years, but rather much earlier in the Lower to early Middle Pleistocene.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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