Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sporadic skull-blogging: Smithsonian Barbie edition¹

Shown Actual Size
"This day, I was likely to discover a small skull of Primate, in a marble quarry, about 16 km far from Erfoud (desert of Tafilalet). The emotion was immense, because I knew that the ground did not have less than 360 million years. It was therefore the age of the little skull!

Buried in sand, in this open-sky marble quarry, where extraction had been suspended, the skull was alone. There were no traces of a post-cranial skeleton.

It appeared to be a complete, well preserved and not deformed cranium, with a quite horizontal skull-base. The insertion of the occipital foramen is under the cranium.

Despite of its smallness, the cranium is that of an adult, if one refers to its unworn wisdom teeth.

The Tafilalet skull shows characteristics of the genus Homo :

  • Position of the occipital foramen : centred head in balance.
  • Jaws : short, parabolic.
  • Symphyse angle : obtuse, in a back position.
  • Forehead : high and round-shaped, like the hind skull.
  • Dental formula: estimated at 32 teeth, inserted vertically.
The cranial parameters are :
  • Circumference : 18,4 cm
  • Facial angle : 81 º
  • Height : BP = 3,9 cm
  • Length : NQ = 6,1 cm
  • Height/Length ratio : ± 0,639"
¹ Full Smithsonian Barbie story here.

These interesting developments are brought to us by Bipedia, a journal of non-traditional evolutionary biology.

More precisely, Bipedia focuses on the "Initial Bipedalism" theory that the first vertebrates to colonise dry land were not lobe-fin fishes, but small primates that had already evolved legs, a vertical posture, endothermy and large brains² as adaptations for their aquatic existence.³ Some of these primates evolved into humans while others lost the large brains and radiated out into the rest of the mammalia; further devolution and specialisation produced birds and reptiles (not to mention fish, in a secondary return to the ocean). Some people think that mammals evolved from fish but this is foolish talk.

I can't help wondering whether De Selby ever commented on this theory.

² These were initially a flotation device:
³ "ears apparently evolved as breathing orifices".


ckc (not kc) said...

...on a short but amusing trip to Bipedia, I encountered the following (kindly translated by Google):

I venture to suggest however that the version of Horses carnivores, bloody as it is, still has more panache than the sordid story of four old maids and hideous repressed by tapping nymphomania.

...who can disagree with that, I ask you?

Smut Clyde said...

Was that the "Neptune's Horses" article? I saw that but didn't want to get into the whole crypto-zoology aspect because of certain words being a trigger around here.

ckc (not kc) said...

...started with Neptune's ...wandered into carnivores ...all accompanied by Google's whimsical translation ...kind of like a drug induced delirium

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

You say "crypto-zoology", I shout "Grapefruit Chupacabra!!!!"

tigris said...

I think keeping animals in crypts is cruel. Except for rats, they love that.

Substance McGravitas said...

small primates that had already evolved legs, a vertical posture, endothermy and large brains² as adaptations for their aquatic existence

This should be obvious. Running on the bottom of the swimming pool is ALWAYS faster than swimming.

Anonymous said...

Obedient bye, considerate friend :)