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Table of Contents
Vol. 22, No. 2-3, 1983
Issue release date: 1983
Brain Behav Evol 1983;22:102–117

Encephalization in Hominids: Evidence for the Model of Punctuationalism

Hofman M.A.
Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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A progressive enlargement of the hominid brain started 3–2 million years ago, probably from a gracile australopithecine form. Since then, three major transitions in degree of encephalization have taken place, leading to modern Homo sapiens. In the present study it is shown that these transitions must have occurred in rapid bursts, interspersed with long periods of little or no evolutionary change (stasis). This stepwise mode of encephalization is in accordance with the model of punctuated evolutionary change. A further inquiry has been made into the size of the cerebral cortex of hominids and into the number of cortical neurons based on estimates which were derived from allometric equations in extant mammals.

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