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13 million-year-old baby ape skull may provide insight into early primate brain

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From Michael Greshko at National Geographic:

“We’ve been looking for ape fossils for years—this is the first time we’re getting a skull that’s complete,” says Isaiah Nengo, the De Anza College anthropologist who led the discovery, supported by a National Geographic Society grant and the Stony Brook University-affiliated Turkana Basin Institute.

Roughly the size of a lemon, the skull belongs to a newly identified species of early ape named Nyanzapithecus alesi. Some of its features resemble those of today’s living Old World monkeys and apes, and the face bears a striking resemblance to today’s infant gibbons.

What’s more, N. alesi offers insight into early apes’ brains, the team reports in their study, published today in Nature. With a volume of about seven tablespoons, N. alesi’s brain cavity was more than double that of other Old World monkeys from the time. More.

What we really need is a much bigger data set. That’s what sets serious science apart from pop science speculation.

See also: Human/primate evolution: Eating fruit led to bigger brains?

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Human origins: The war of trivial explanations

"the face bears a striking resemblance to today’s infant gibbons" And so why isn't the first guess that they have simply found the skull of an infant gibbon from a long time ago? Do we have any solid evidence that gibbons, or some close relative, didn't exist 13 million years ago? This sounds like finding a front fender, remarking that it is STRIKINGLY similar to a 1953 Volkswagen Beetle's front fender and then concluding that the fender MUST represent a archaic and previously unknown kind of automobile that was NOT a Volkswagen. But then if you don't discover NEW stuff, you gonna get funding for next year's dig. vmahuna
There's no doubt in my mind that I may have evolved from a baby ape. Mung

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