Primate Brain Evolution

pp 57-76

The Relativity of Relative Brain Measures and Hominid Mosaic Evolution

  • Ralph L. HollowayAffiliated withDepartment of Anthropology, Columbia University
  • , David G. Post

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Several developments in recent years have renewed interest in finding measures or parameters to characterize brain and body size relationships both quantitatively and objectively. Among three developments the most outstanding are 1) a deepening appreciation and understanding of all metric relationships in evolutionary change and of formal comparisons among extant species (Bauchot and Stephan, 1969; Gould, 1973; Holloway, 1976; 1979; Jerison, 1973; Passingham, 1973; Passingham and Ettlinger, 1975; Sacher, 1975; Stephan et al., 1970; Hemmer, 1971; Leutenegger, 1973); 2) the publication of Jerison’s (1973) volume on brain size and intelligence in evolutionary perspective; 3) the attempts to quantify body size parameters of certain early hominid specimens by physical anthropologists, McHenry (1974,1975) and Holloway (1975); and 4) the recent designation (Johansen and White, 1979) of the Hadar and Laetoli (Ethiopia and Tanzania, respectively) hominids to a new taxon, Australopithecus afarensis, a taxon clearly having a small ape-sized brain, yet with other morphological attributes indicative of true hominid status (e.g., bipedality, dentition).