The Relevance of Endocasts for Studying Primate Brain Evolution

  • Ralph L. Holloway
Part of the Advances in Primatology book series (AIPR)


The most proximal evidence for brain evolution within any taxonomic group of animals is from paleoneurology, the study of brain endocasts. The higher primates, however, i.e., pongids and hominids, have a notorious reputation for not being too faithful in leaving solid, interpretable evidence on the surface of their endocasts. Whether this is because they are relatively large-brained creatures or simply phyletically perverse and spiteful in character, preferring that their brain phylogeny remain unknown because of meningeal tissues’ conspiring to eradicate all decent gyral and sulcal configurations, is unknown at present. Certainly the first factor, large brain size, is in all likelihood paramount. In any event, except for a very few exceptional cases in both chimpanzees and humans, the cortical gyri and sulci are covered by thick meninges and usually do not imprint their forms on the internal table of bone of the cranium.


Brain Evolution Brain Size Fossil Hominid Occipital Polis Cortical Gyrus 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ralph L. Holloway
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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