The brain of Australopithecus developed as a human, but structurally it was very similar to monkeys. This is the conclusion made by scientists from the Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology of the Max Planck Society, who created computer models for two skulls of young Afar Australopithecus cubs. Their study is published in the journal Science Advances.
The main scientific paradigm today says that the human brain began to develop longer only after it gradually increased in size. This evolutionary course reduced risks during childbirth.
Philip Gunz of the Max Planck Society Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, using computer tomography, recreated the brain model of two Afar Australopithecus cubs from Dikiki and Hadar in Ethiopia. Having completed the missing parts of the skull, scientists came to the conclusion that the brain shape in the young Australopithecus and the young of modern monkeys is very similar. Accordingly, small Australopithecines did not have signs of brain restructuring, as happened with a number of other ancient people.
At the same time, adult Australopithecus has a larger brain volume than chimpanzees of the same age. Thanks to this, scientists concluded that the brain of Australopithecus also had to grow longer. At the same time, teeth of Australopithecus teeth grew at about the same rate as chimpanzees, respectively, the extension of development affected only the brain, and not the whole organism.
The study of scientists contradicts the basic theory that the brain of Australopithecus began to develop longer only with its increase in size. Around the same time, many scientists thought about Neanderthals who were supposedly inferior to other Homo species in development.