Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Cognitive and behavioral modernity in Homo erectus: skull globularity and hominin brain evolution


Clark, Gary; Henneberg, Maciej (2022). Cognitive and behavioral modernity in Homo erectus: skull globularity and hominin brain evolution. Anthropological Review, 84(4):467-485.

Abstract

In this article we provide evidence that evolutionary pressures altered the cranial base and the mastoid region of the temporal bone more than the calvaria in the transition from H. erectus to H. sapiens. This process seems to have resulted in the evolution of more globular skull shape – but not as a result of expansion of the brain in the parietal regions but of reduction of the cranial base and the mastoid region relative to the parietals. Consequently, we argue that expansion of the parietals seems to be unrelated to brain evolution, but is more a by-product of reduction in other regions of the skull, reduction that may be related to dietary factors. Additionally, these findings suggest that cognitive and behavioural modernity may not necessarily be dependent on brain shape. Also, it cannot be attributed to the change in brain size because H. erectus and modern human cranial capacities overlap substantially. Consequently, we suggest H. erectus possessed the full suite of cognitive adaptations characteristic of modern humans without possessing a globular skull with flared parietals. Our results also support the theory that paedomorphic morphogenesis of the skull was important in the transition from H. erectus to H. sapiens and that such changes may be related to both dietary factors and social evolution.

Abstract

In this article we provide evidence that evolutionary pressures altered the cranial base and the mastoid region of the temporal bone more than the calvaria in the transition from H. erectus to H. sapiens. This process seems to have resulted in the evolution of more globular skull shape – but not as a result of expansion of the brain in the parietal regions but of reduction of the cranial base and the mastoid region relative to the parietals. Consequently, we argue that expansion of the parietals seems to be unrelated to brain evolution, but is more a by-product of reduction in other regions of the skull, reduction that may be related to dietary factors. Additionally, these findings suggest that cognitive and behavioural modernity may not necessarily be dependent on brain shape. Also, it cannot be attributed to the change in brain size because H. erectus and modern human cranial capacities overlap substantially. Consequently, we suggest H. erectus possessed the full suite of cognitive adaptations characteristic of modern humans without possessing a globular skull with flared parietals. Our results also support the theory that paedomorphic morphogenesis of the skull was important in the transition from H. erectus to H. sapiens and that such changes may be related to both dietary factors and social evolution.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics

Altmetrics

Downloads

77 downloads since deposited on 02 Feb 2022
40 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Anthropology, Health (social science)
Language:English
Date:1 January 2022
Deposited On:02 Feb 2022 15:02
Last Modified:18 Jun 2024 03:36
Publisher:Versita Open
ISSN:1898-6773
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.2478/anre-2021-0030
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)