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Am J Phys Anthropol. 1982 May;58(1):101-10.

Brain endocast asymmetry in pongids and hominids: some preliminary findings on the paleontology of cerebral dominance.


Observations on petalial asymmetry for 190 hominoid endocasts are reported, and their statistical differences assessed. While all taxa of hominoids show asymmetries to various degrees, the patterns or combinations of petalial asymmetries are very different, with fossil hominoids and modern Homo sapiens showing an identical pattern of left-occipital, right-frontal petalias, which contrasts with those found normally in pongids. Of the pongids, Gorilla shows the greater degree of asymmetry in left-occipital petalias. Only modern Homo and hominoids (Australopithecus, Homo erectus, Neandertals) show a distinct left-occipital, right-frontal petalial pattern. Analysis by chi 2 statistics shows the differences to be highly significant. Due to small sample size and incompleteness of endocasts, small-brained hominoids, i.e., Australopithecus, are problematical. To the degree that gross petalial patterns are correlated with cognitive task specialization, we speculate that human cognitive patterns evolved early in hominoid evolution and were related to selection pressures operating on both symbolic and spatiovisual integration, and that these faculties are corroborated in the archeological record.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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