Old but interesting news about the ancient pelvis. It's amazing how much smaller babies used to be than they are now! Is anyone out there an evolutionary scientist or otherwise well-read on how we've evolved our brains and pelvis in sync? I can't help but be in awe of how much trial and error it must have taken to favor the larger human brain and pelvis over the millennia.
I know most would say that it's very rare today that a pelvis is too small for a baby, but does the fact that even those babies can survive via c-section mean we will no longer be able to co-evolve bigger and bigger brains/pelvises?
Discovery Questions Intelligence of Human Ancestor
Pelvis dated to 1.2 million years ago shows our ancestors were born with bigger heads [than previously thought]
November 18, 2008
A recently discovered female pelvis is changing minds about the head size of an ancient human ancestor, Homo erectus, and consequently revising notions about how smart they may have been. Found in Gona, Ethiopia, not far from the site that yielded the 3.2 million year old remains of the famed Australopithecus afarensi "Lucy," the pelvis indicates that Homo erectus, which lived in Africa roughly 2 million years ago, had a larger birth canal than originally suspected and could have given birth to babies with bigger brains.
Before the female pelvis was found, evidence from the pelvis of a juvenile male led researchers to project that the cranial circumference and capacity of newborn Homo erectus babies was 30 percent smaller than more recent projections based on the newly discovered pelvis.
Sileshi Semaw, a paleoanthropologist at the Stone Age Institute and Indiana University-Bloomington, and his colleagues assert that the head of a baby born from this Homo erectus could have been 318 millimeters in circumference. This is at the lower end of the spectrum of modern day human beings whose cranial circumferences at birth typically range from 320-370 millimeters. Semaw and colleagues present their findings in the Nov. 14 issue of Science. The research is funded in part by the National Science Foundation.
--Zina Deretsky, NSF
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