Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New Explanation for Brain Evolution in Australopithecines

Science Daily is reporting on new examinations of the famous Taung brain endocast that provides insights into human evolution. They write:
"These findings are significant because they provide a highly plausible explanation as to why the hominin brain might grow larger and more complex," Falk said.

The first feature is a "persistent metopic suture," or unfused seam, in the frontal bone, which allows a baby's skull to be pliable during childbirth as it squeezes through the birth canal. In great apes -- gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees -- the metopic suture closes shortly after birth. In humans, it does not fuse until around 2 years of age to accommodate rapid brain growth.

The second feature is the fossil's endocast, or imprint of the outside surface of the brain transferred to the inside of the skull. The endocast allows researchers to examine the brain's form and structure.
The argument is that the metopic suture stays open in hominins longer to allow the brain to grow more postnatally, something we have known for some time. It is the new imaging techniques that have allowed us to get a better handle on this. The endocast has been around for almost ninety years and has been subject to all kinds of studies, some of which have led to riotous disagreements between researchers. More pieces of the puzzle.

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1 comment:

  1. From a YEC Christian view the intelligence of man is unrelated to the brain.
    Our souls are made in the image of God and in the afterlife we will think no inferior to how we do now.
    Our brains simply allow our thoughts to have more impact on our bodies. also our memory's must take up more space.
    Big brainism is just a presumption behind human intelligence .
    There is no evidence to back this up.
    Apes simply have small brains because of little activity going on.
    In fact women have smaller brains then men but surely no one says this is relevant to intelligence.
    Unless evolutionists are saying this!