Another year-end list! This one is becoming an old tradition on this blog… My favorite hominin #FossilFriday tweets of 2018, from number 10 to 1.
What’s a ‘FossilFriday’? Every Friday, people post pics of their favorite fossils using the hashtag #FossilFriday, mainly on Twitter. This can be about famous specimens, odd fossils, museum collections, rare photos, scientific papers or blog posts. I love to join it & tweet about hominin fossils. Now, let’s go!
10. Unusual picture of a very iconic fossil, ER 1813 Homo habilis:
9. New studies on old fossils. Did Cro-Magnon 1 have neurofibromatosis type 1?
8. This gorgeous hand of Australopithecus sediba:
This is the 4th one of a little tradition, my special Paleoanthropology annual report… The list of my favorite hominin #FossilFriday tweets in 2017, from number 10 to 1.
What’s a ‘FossilFriday’? Every Friday on Twitter, people share pics of their favorite fossils, related scientific papers or blog posts, by using the hashtag #FossilFriday. This is a great manner to show famous or rare pieces of museum collections, and to share research works. Every Friday I love to join & tweet about a different hominin fossil. Now, let’s go!
10. Very nice National Geographic hologram cover from November 1985, starring the Taung child:
The supraorbital torus (or brow ridge) is a very distinctive morphological trait in most of our hominin ancestors. What purpose does this feature serve? A few hypotheses around this topic are:
- Dissipation of heavy chewing forces, produced by the jaw muscles and transmitted around the nose and the eye sockets.
- Evolutionary result of the fulfilment of spatial demands between the orbits and the brain case.
- Capacity to dynamically express affiliative prosocial emotions through highly mobile eyebrows.
- Reinforcement of the frontal bone which was weaker in all the hominin species before Homo sapiens. This is a similar idea to explain the development of the chin in modern humans, as a reinforcement of a weaker jaw.
- Protection of the skull and the eyes against blows.
- A signaling effect, accentuating aggressive stares, thus its large size could have been sexually selected through generations. Is the lack of brow ridges related to self-domestication in modern humans?
However, many huge supraorbital tori are hollowed inside with large sinuses (for example: Petralona), suggesting that they did not bear or transmit physical forces from blows to the head or heavy chewing. Another iconic skull, Kabwe 1, has a much larger browridge than the minimum required to fulfil spatial demands, and its size has little impact on mechanical performance during biting.
I like the idea to think about a combination of several factors which made evolution work for a few million years. This post describes the supraorbital tori of 22 iconic hominins:
Al 444-2: The largest Australopithecus afarensis skull yet discovered has an expansive supraorbital torus, thickened laterally and continuous superiorly-posteriorly with no interruption.
Sts 5 (Mrs. Ples) has a relatively small supraorbital torus, double arched in the front and projecting glabella. Another Au. africanus skull with many similarities is Sts 71, with a less broad torus in comparison to Sts 5, but with a similar expanded glabella.
Supraorbital torus: Sts 5 (centre)-credit Wikipedia, AL 444-2 (left) and Sts 71 (right)-credit Roberto Sáez
Finally! The 3rd edition of my little tradition, a particular ‘annual report’: the list of my favorite hominin #FossilFriday tweets in 2016, from number 10 to 1.
For those who do not know what “FossilFriday” means… Every Friday on twitter, people share pics of their favorite fossils, related scientific papers or blog posts, by using the hashtag #FossilFriday. This is a great manner to show famous or rare pieces of museum collections, and to share research works. I join every Friday and tweet about a different hominin fossil. Now, let’s start!
10. Look into the 1.8 Ma eyes of the impressive OH 24 | MNCN Colecciones