A new brain endocast of Homo erectus from Hulu Cave, Nanjing, China

Authors

  • Xiujie Wu,

    Corresponding author
    1. Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Nanjing 210008, China
    • Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China
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  • Ralph L. Holloway,

    1. Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, NY, NY 100027
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  • Lynne A. Schepartz,

    1. Department of Anthropology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-7772
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  • Song Xing

    1. Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of Vertebrates, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China
    2. Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Abstract

A new brain endocast of Homo erectus from Hulu Cave, Tangshan, Nanjing is described and compared with a broad sample of endocasts of H. erectus, Neanderthals, and recent modern humans. The Nanjing 1 endocast is reconstructed based on two portions of endocranial casts taken from the original fossil fragments. The fossil was discovered in 1993, near Nanjing, South China and is dated to ∼ 0.58–0.62 Ma. The cranial capacity is ∼ 876 cc, as determined by endocast water displacement. There are some common features of Nanjing 1 and other H. erectus endocasts that differentiate them from the Neanderthals and modern humans in our sample. These include small cranial capacity, low height dimensions, simple middle meningeal vessel patterns, a high degree of cerebral-over-cerebellar lobe overhang, elongated and quite separated cerebellar lobes, and a narrow, low, short and flat frontal region. Some features are found to vary among H. erectus, Neanderthals and modern humans, such as the lateral Sylvian fissure position and the venous sinus and petalial patterns. The Nanjing 1 endocast has unique, large, superior frontal convolutions, and strongly protruding Broca's caps. In contrast to other Chinese H. erectus from Hexian and Zhoukoudian, Nanjing 1 lacks strong posterior projection of the occipital lobes. Bivariate and principal component analyses indicate that the small volume and shape of Nanjing 1 is most similar to KNM-WT 15000, KNM-ER 3883, Sangiran 2 and Hexian, illustrating the combination of narrow, low, and short frontal lobes with wide posterior lobes. Am J Phys Anthropol,2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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