The skull from florisbad: A paleoneurological report

Emiliano Bruner, Marlize Lombard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The Florisbad fossil cranium was found in South Africa in 1932. Different authors proposed a taxonomic affinity with early Homo sapiens, Neandertals or late Homo heidelbergensis. Here, we review its neurocranial morphology, to supply an updated perspective on its paleoneurological features. The curvature of the frontal squama is definitely within modern human variation, although the anterior cranial fossa is very broad, comparable to that of the Neandertals. In contrast, the parietal lobe and the vascular networks are more similar to the morphology observed in more archaic human species, such as Homo heidelbergensis. The endocranial anatomy of the Florisbad skull displays a mosaic of derived and plesiomorphic features, which makes this fossil compatible with distinct phylogenetic scenarios. None of these traits are, however, strictly diagnostic in terms of taxonomy. This specimen is central to the question on the possible anagenetic evolution from Homo heidelbergensis sensu lato to modern humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-97
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Anthropological Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Human evolution
  • Middle Pleistocene
  • Paleoneurology
  • Southern Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology


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