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Keywords:

  • paleoanthropology;
  • archaic Homo sapiens;
  • endocranium;
  • virtual reconstruction

Abstract

This paper provides the first endocranial description of the matrix-filled archaic Homo sapiens cranium from Eliye Springs, Kenya. Using CT-based 3D reconstruction, the virtually cleaned endocranial surface allowed for the assessment of more than 30 metrical and nonmetrical features, most of which are considered of phylogenetic importance. The VOXEL-MAN program used was most valuable in describing and analyzing the morphological conditions. Since many of the features have not been widely or virtually studied, a small sample of late Pleistocene/early Holocene skulls from East Africa was similarly analyzed for insight into recent variation. The comparisons between Eliye Springs and the modern African specimens showed that the endocranial morphology of this probably later Middle Pleistocene hominid falls into, or close to, the modern ranges of variation for most features. This study also addresses the problems of variation and phylogenetic significance of many of the features, and highlights the need for basic studies on the variability and relevance of such endocranial traits in human evolution. Anat Rec Part A 276A:113–133, 2004. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.