Endocast morphology of Homo naledi from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa

Holloway, Ralph L.; Hurst, Shawn D.; Marvin, Heather M.; Schoenemann, P. Thomas; Vanti, William B.; Berger, Lee R.; Hawks, John

Hominin cranial remains from the Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, represent multiple individuals of the species Homo naledi. This species exhibits a small endocranial volume comparable to Australopithecus, combined with several aspects of external cranial anatomy similar to larger-brained species of Homo such as Homo habilis and Homo erectus. Here, we describe the endocast anatomy of this recently discovered species. Despite the small size of the H. naledi endocasts, they share several aspects of structure in common with other species of Homo, not found in other hominins or great apes, notably in the organization of the inferior frontal and lateral orbital gyri. The presence of such structural innovations in a small-brained hominin may have relevance to behavioral evolution within the genus Homo.


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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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November 2, 2018