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Modern chimp brains share similarities with ancient hominids

Scans suggest certain folding patterns don’t mark humanlike neural advances after all

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3:00pm, March 26, 2018
pensive chimp

BRAINY CHIMPS  Some modern chimps have brain surface features that were thought to have signaled humanlike brain evolution in hominids from as early as 3 million years ago, scans suggest.

Groove patterns on the surface of modern chimpanzee brains throw a monkey wrench into proposals that some ancient southern African hominids evolved humanlike brain characteristics, a new study suggests.

MRIs of eight living chimps reveal substantial variability in the shape and location of certain features on the brain surface. Some of these brains showed surface creases similar to ones that were thought to have signaled a turn toward humanlike brain organization in ancient hominids hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years ago. Paleoanthropologist Dean Falk of Florida State University in Tallahassee and colleagues report their findings online March 13 in Brain, Behavior and Evolution.

The study casts doubt on a 2014 paper by Falk that was based on casts of the inside of fossil braincases, called endocasts, which preserve impressions of these surface features. At the time, Falk argued that four

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