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Human skull study causes evolutionary headache
Date:12/20/2011

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"We were able to use the genetic information to simulate what would happen if selection were to favour particular shape changes in the skull. As those changes, we used the key features that are derived in humans, by comparison with our ancestors: the shift of the foramen magnum associated with the transition to bipedal posture, the retraction of the face, the flexion of the cranial base, and, finally, the expansion of the braincase.

"As much as possible, we simulated each of these changes as a localised shape change limited to a small region of the skull. For each of the simulations, we obtained a predicted response that included not only the change we selected for, but also all the others. All those features of the skull tended to change as a whole package. This means that, in evolutionary history, any of the changes may have facilitated the evolution of the others."

Lead author Dr Neus Martnez-Abadas, from the University of Barcelona's, added: "This study has important implications for inferences on human evolution and suggests the need for a reinterpretation of the evolutionary scenarios of the skull in modern humans."


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Contact: Aeron Haworth
aeron.haworth@manchester.ac.uk
44-161-275-8383
University of Manchester
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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