Revisiting the South African Taung australopithecine endocast: The position of the lunate sulcus as determined by the stereoplotting technique

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Abstract

Falk's (1980a) claims regarding the pongid-like disposition of convolutional patterns on the South African australopithecine endocasts are critically examined. Using a stereoplotter apparatus and a small sample of chimpanzee brain casts, the angular coordinates of the lunate sulcus are recorded, and placed as such on the Taung and SK 1585 endocasts. The resulting location of such pongid-oriented lunate sulci violates the gross morphology of the australopithecine endocasts. Relative brain: body weight ratios for Australopithecus are shown to be advanced over any of the pongids. In addition, evidence is provided from LeGros Clark's (1947) paper that controverts certain of Falk's claims regarding his methods. It is concluded that the secondary sulci and gyri on the now available australopithecine endocasts are not clear enough to warrant unambiguous demonstration; with regard to the lunate sulcus, the Taung endocast does not show a pongid pattern.

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