Endocast of Sambungmacan 3 (Sm 3): A new Homo erectus from Indonesia

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Abstract

A new fossil calvaria, Sambungmacan 3 (Sm 3), described in New Fossil Hominid Calvaria From Indonesia—Sambungmacan 3 by Márquez et al., this volume, yields one of the most advanced and complete endocasts yet recovered from Java. This communication provides a thorough interpretation of the external anatomical landmarks observable on Sm 3. Using computer tomography (CT) and traditional morphological measurements, our comparative paleoneurological analyses show that while Sm 3 has a mosaic of features that are similar to both Indonesian and Chinese H. erectus, it also possesses significant characters reminiscent of later hominins. These include a greater degree of asymmetry characterized by a possible left-occipital, right-frontal petalial pattern, left-right volumetric cerebral asymmetry, and marked asymmetry in Broca's cap. Moreover, the frontal lobe offers a more rounded, shortened appearance in contrast to the flat, elongated appearance of other Indonesian fossils (e.g., Sangiran 17). Another unique trait is exhibited in the transverse plane where the widest breadth of Sm 3 occurs more superiorly than in other Indonesian H. erectus. Thus, the endocast of Sm 3 presents a unique morphology not seen previously in the hominin fossil record. While the strong modern human characteristics in this endocast may not represent a particular ancestry, they do allow us to recognize a new dimension of the remarkable variation in Indonesian Homo erectus. Anat Rec 262:369–379, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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