Tiny Homo naledi brain reveals complex features

In the year 2013, the remains of Homo naledi was discovered by the researchers who were undertaking an excavation of a South Africa cave. The Homo naledi is the latest addition to the human family tree. Lately, it has been reported that this African hominin brain, although really small, possesses many structural details, which are exactly same as that of the brains of the humans.

The African hominin is said to have lived some 235,000 to 336,000 years ago. After examining its cranial remains, it was concluded by the researchers that the hominin had a very small sized brain. The brain size is estimated to be similar to that of the size of an apple. The recent analysis of the fragments of the skull has revealed that the brain of the Homo naledi had a similar structure and shape as that of the brains of the modern human beings, which basically are near about 3 times larger.

A paleoanthropologist at the Wits University of South Africa, Lee Berger, who is the author of the study featured in the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences told that now it could be appropriately said that all the complexities of a big brain can be packed in a tiny one. He further added that this discovery has proved a typical fact wrong, which said that the brain complexity of the humans is directly proportional to their sizes.

The team of researchers designed endocasts, which are the cranium’s interior impressions, using the “partial skulls” of many people belonging to the original species of Homo naledi found in the Dinaledi Chamber, which is a portion of the Rising Star Cave System near Johannesburg. Among all the “partial skulls” that were involved in the study, the DH1 is considered to be the holotype of Homo naledi. The researchers have formulated the initial description of Homo naledi on the basis of the DH1.

The co-author of the study, Prof. Heaver Garvin of the Des Moines University said that the revealed fact of the brain of the Homo naledi, despite the tiny size, having charachteristics similar to that of the brain of the modern human being confirms that the organization of the brain is more crucial that the size of it. Garvin said that morphology and brain size are not compulsorily connected. Garvin further added that there are lots of things yet to be figured out also in terms of the human brains so no concrete conclusion could be drawn at the present regarding the connection in between the brain morphology of Homo naledi and its behavioral characteristics.

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top