Ancestors Not So Brainy?

John E. Rylander (
Sun, 14 Jun 1998 13:00:03 -0500

I thought people might find this interesting. Glenn, what do you think?



Size Does Matter
Ancestors Not So Brainy
By Jason Lathrop
Special to
June 11 Alas, poor Australopithecus africanus! We knew him well. Or so we
A new study shows scientists may have overstated the brain size of our
most ancient relatives, Australopithecus of ancient Africa. That means
anthropologists may start dragging countless skulls out of the closet to
retake measurements.
Glenn Conroy, of Washington University in St. Louis, and colleagues
used CAT scans to show that a South African skull fossil, nicknamed Mr.
Ples, is far smaller than previously thought. That surprise caused him to
measure another skull. Again, he found earlier measurements incorrect.
Its a very significant finding, says Katerina Semendeferi, a
professor of anthropology at the University of California, San Diego. It
clearly indicates that more skulls, if not all of them, will need to be
re-examined and scanned.
If smaller brains were the general rule, then sophisticated human
intellect may have appeared much later, so our brand of braininess could be
newer than we thought.