Endocast taung child dating

Taung Child - Wikipedia

endocast taung child dating

The Taung child is the fossilized skull of an infant hominin and the holotype of 1 Origins; 2 Importance; 3 Geology; 4 Dating; 5 Other facts; 6 References The left hand side of the endocast of the Taung child is covered in. The skull of the most important fossils of our ancestors, Taung Child, Privacy and cookiesJobsDatingOffersShopPuzzlesInvestor SubscribeRegisterLog in a natural endocast, an impression from inside of the braincase. depression on Taung's endocast as the likely medial end. *Correspondence to: Dean . in a letter to Dart dated February 25, (Smith,. February 25, . son to whom its initial scientific description has been entrusted, springs naturally .

However, two observations question the veracity of this interpretation. Firstly, the seemingly nonchalant manner in which Dart holds the skull with one hand, clutching the side of the base between his fingers in Figure 1 and, secondly, the colour of the natural endocranial cast in Figure 2a. If one observes the rarely depicted left lateral aspect of the photographed endocast, one notices that it is dark in colour as it is on the cast, see Figure 2b.

This observation appears to be contrary to that of the fossil where the surface of the natural endocast is covered by, in Dart's own words, 'glistening white calcite crystals'13 Figure 2c. It is difficult to compare the photographs in question Figures 2a and 3a with the first published photographs taken by Richardson in Although the Nature publication1 showed a few photographs of the Taung skull, none of these were of the distinctive left lateral view of the skull and the endocast.

This view of the skull is the one which was shown in Dart and Craig's book Adventures with the Missing Link,13 but the quality of the photographs is poor. Could it then be possible that Dart did not hold the actual fossil, but rather that the skull depicted in the photographs we present here is one of the first plaster casts of the famous fossil produced in the spring of ? The first series of casts the skull as discovered, its full reconstruction, and the reconstruction of the head were produced for presentation in the South African pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, London, in It was, therefore, a perfect setting for the first public display of the Taung skull outside South Africa.

Dart took the preparations for the exhibition very seriously and assiduously strived to present his discovery, himself, his university and, indeed, South Africa, in the best possible light. The booklet on Taung, which complemented and explained the exhibits, was written by Dart's mentor from the time he had worked in London, the renowned neuroanatomist and anthropologist - also Australian-born - Sir Grafton Elliot Smith.

Dart, together with his students and staff, prepared the charts and casts for the exhibition. These were augmented by some comparative material obtained from Elliot Smith from his own anatomy department at University College London. The preparation of materials proved demanding as Dart was constrained by the lack of resources and expert assistance in Johannesburg. However, he managed to derive the best from what little he had.

Producing good quality casts was particularly challenging. As there was no one with experience in making casts in South Africa at the time, Dart decided to employ a professional plasterer.

He later described the production of the casts: The name of my artisan ally is now forgotten, but, considering the strangeness of his task, he worked enthusiastically and skilfully. Allen, then a medical student and later Chief Orthopaedic Surgeon in Natal, mounted copies of these casts on separate metal stands and they were then painted to resemble the originals by Miss S. Wilson, a friend of one of my students from Germiston. Two further casts were glued together and upon this the midline was determined and the head neck and shoulders built up in semi-construction around the left half of the skull by an artist, Mrs.

Taung Child skull reconstructed

Plaster casts were then made of this semi-reconstruction by the artisan and finally upon one of these semi-reconstructions a full reconstruction was made and cast in its turn. It is little wonder, therefore, that the final product could have been photographed and the photographs retained. In light of the above, a question arises as to the likelihood that the early photographs depicted the first casts made of the Taung skull.

Further examination of the photographs indicates, however, that this is not the case. Although the natural endocast on the photographed skull was dark and non-shiny in colour, it can reasonably be assumed that a black-and-white photograph dating to the beginning of the 20th century poorly represented the original colour of the endocast.

In addition, several other details suggest that the skull depicted in the photographs was in fact the original fossil. Firstly, the details on the face and teeth Figure 3a exhibit too high a resolution for it to have been a plaster cast.

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Secondly, the teeth on the early photograph see the frontal view differ in colour. In the original fossil Figure 3b the incisors are darker than the other teeth the canines and molars as a result of the loss of enamel; although the photograph in question is black and white, this feature is clearly visible though not present in casts - see Figure 3c. It ought also to be mentioned that the skull as seen in the present has a different appearance to the skull as it was in owing to cleaning especially inside the orbits and nasal cavity.

And lastly, the photograph of the presumed earliest plaster cast of the Taung Child, catalogued at the British Museum, Palaeontology Mammal Register, with the note: One should note here that following the close of the Wembley Exhibition, the casts of the Taung Child were, with Dart's approval, sent to the British Museum Natural History in London for safe-keeping and curation. In the present case, however, the key evidence most strongly suggests that the three early photographs described here depict the actual Taung fossil itself.

Taken not long after the discovery before Julythe photographs were never published by Dart; one may assume that he did not publish them because of their rather poor quality and retained them for personal record rather than for public display.

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The photographs were kept in the Dart family collection, probably as precious mementos of one of the important events in Raymond Dart's career.

After Dart's death in ,20 the photographs, together with other historical materials in the Dart family's possession, were deposited in the University of the Witwatersrand Archives Tobias PVpersonal communication to GS, March The photographs described here represent only a fraction of the treasure trove of historical materials held in the University of the Witwatersrand Archives. Acknowledgements We thank M. Wolpoff for his comments on the first draft of the manuscript; K. Mothate for her assistance and permission to publish the photographs from the University of the Witwatersrand Archives; R.

Kruszynski for checking the British Museum Archives and for the courtesy of taking and sending the photograph to one of the authors K. Chorn for proofreading the manuscript. Competing interests We declare that we have no financial or personal relationships which may have inappropriately influenced us in writing this paper. The man-ape of South Africa. Debating humankind's place in nature The nature of paleoanthropology.

Pearson Prentice Hall; How two controversial discoveries changed our view of human evolution. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press; Tracing our ape ancestry. Yale University Press; Kuykendall KL, Strkalj G.

endocast taung child dating

A history of South African palaeoanthropology. A search for origins: Science, history and South Africa's 'Cradle of Humankind'. University of the Witwatersrand Press, ; p. Dart, Taung and the 'missing link'. University of the Witwatersrand Press; When and by whom was the Taung skull discovered? Para conocer al hombre: Universidad Nacional Autonoma da Mexico, ; p. Some were able to reconcile the science with the religious theology through the lens of "creation science", but there was still significant opposition.

Shedding new light on an old mystery: early photographs of the Taung Child

However, by this time many other fossils such as Java ManPiltdown Man, Neanderthal Manand Rhodesian Man were being discovered, and the theory of evolution was becoming more difficult to refute. Using a "metrical and statistical approach" that he thought was superior to purely descriptive methods, [16] he decided that the creatures had not walked on two legs and so were not an intermediate form between humans and apes.

Broom discovered fossils of Australopithecus that contributed to the acceptance of Dart's interpretation of the Taung child, as a transitional form between apes and anatomically modern humans.

Dart's claim that Australopithecus africanus, the species name that he had given to the Taung Child, was a transitional form between apes and humans was almost universally rejected. Robert Brooma Scottish doctor who worked in South Africa, was one of the few scientists to believe Dart.

After he became a paleontologist inBroom found adult fossils of Australopithecus africanus and discovered more robust fossils, which were eventually renamed Australopithecus robustus AKA Paranthropus Robustus. InBroom and his colleague Gerrit Schepers published a volume consolidating all the information they had found about Australopithecus africanus in a volume titled The South African Fossil Men: Le Gros Clark, who would also play an important role in exposing the fraud of the Piltdown Man invisited Johannesburg in late to study Dart's Taung skull and Broom's adult fossils, with the intention of proving that they were only apes.

Taung Child

He admitted "the evidence submitted by Dr. Robert Broom and Professor Dart was right and I was wrong.

endocast taung child dating

An anonymous article, published in Nature on 15 Februaryannounced Clark's conclusions to a wider public. On that day, Keith, who had been one of Dart's most virulent critics, composed a letter to the editor of Nature announcing that he supported Clark's analysis: I am now convinced Dart was right and that I was wrong.

The Australopithecinae are in or near the line which culminated in the human form". The idea that the skull belonged to a new genus was identified by comparison with skulls of chimpanzees.

Its skull was larger than a fully-grown chimpanzee's. The forehead of the chimpanzee receded to form a heavy browridge and a jutting jaw; the Taung Child's forehead recedes but leaves no browridge. Its foramen magnuma void in the cranium, where the spinal cord is continuous with the brain, is beneath the cranium so the creature must have stood upright.

Dean Falka specialist in neuroanatomy, noted that Dart had not fully considered certain apelike attributes for Taung.

As it turned out, he was wrong about that Taung's humanlike features were overemphasized". This mainly pertains to the lunate sulcaswhich Dart had described as having human-like placement, Upon further examination however, Falk determined that these patterns were much more similar to that of an ape's similar sized brain.

Ralph Holloway stood in opposition of this idea as he had long been known as a supporter of Dart's analysis of Taung. He believed that the sulcus would be in the area of the lambdoid structure. Falk however, believed the sulcas was placed higher on the skull, in a more ape-like manner.

However, studies surrounding this have been controversial, as there is no concrete place on the brain where they can place these features. Paleoneurologists have been tasked with looking at various depressions in the brain and attempting to determine what they are.

endocast taung child dating

These scientists are often met with skepticism, just as Falk in her continued support of and ape-like placement of the lunate sulcas. However, now many professionals believe that the sulcas is not visible in Taung and many other Australopithecus africanus specimens. However, a newer endocast specimen title Stw has been examined, and many believe that it supports Dart's hypothesis, but this aspect of Taung is still highly debated, and many still believe it has ape-like placement.

This was barred from being published to Dart's dismay in It remains unpublished in these archives where very few are able to appreciate it. In this writing Falk discovered that she and Dart had come to similar conclusions surrounding the evolutionary process of the brain that Taung indicates. Whereas Dart had identified only two potential sulci on the Taung endocast inhe identified and illustrated 14 additional sulci in this still-unpublished monograph. It is estimated to be 2.