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Keywords:

  • Skull base;
  • Hominids;
  • Primates

Abstract

The size and shape of the basicranium (seen in norma basilaris) in Homo, Gorilla, Pan, Pongo, and Australopithecus have been studied by recording the relative disposition of midline and bilateral bony landmarks. Fifteen linear measurements and two angles were used to relate the landmarks. The relatively longer and narrower cranial base of Gorilla, Pan, and Pongo is clearly contrasted with the wider, shorter cranial base in Homo sapiens. When the same observations were made on two “robust” and two “gracile” australopithecine crania, marked differences were found between the taxa. In the two “robust” specimens, the foramen magnum is located relatively further forward, and the axis of the petrous temporal bone is aligned more nearly with the coronal plane than in the two “gracile” crania.

The implications of this apparent parallelism in basicranial morphology between Homo sapiens and the “robust” australopithecines are discussed.