The analysis of a 49,000-year-old occipital bone found in the El Sidrón cave (Asturias) reveals that Neanderthals had a more extensive primary visual cortex than that of Homo sapiens , which could also lead to greater visual acuity, according to research from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC). The study, published in the Journal of Anatomy , provides previously unknown information about the visual system of Neanderthals, by comparing the primary visual cortex – part of the cerebral cortex located in the occipital lobe, responsible for processing visual information – with the of modern humans. “We have shown that the Neanderthal has a more extensive primary visual cortex than modern humans, so it is very likely that it was also endowed with greater visual acuity than we do,” explains Ángel Peña Melían,

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researcher at the Department of Anatomy and Embryology of the UCM. “This extension is not due to adaptation to colder regions with less luminosity, as previously thought, since the specimen UAE Email List comes from a region in southern Europe that is warmer and brighter than the north of the continent,” continues the expert. . 3D cranial casts Due to the excellent preservation conditions of the fragment of the SD-2300 fossil, corresponding to an occipital bone, exceptionally marked traces of the grooves and gyrus of the brain region related to that endocranial surface have been identified that correspond to the occipital pole of the brain. and neighboring areas. For this study, both real and virtual endocranial casts were made (using 3D computer programs) and compared with the same regions of the modern human brain using postmortem material from the Center for Body Donation and Dissection Rooms of the UCM.

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“The results of this comparison suggest that the Neanderthal brain in this region was very similar in terms of the endowment of grooves and gyri to that of the modern human. However, a greater extension of the calcarine sulcus, located on the medial face of the occipital lobe, is found in comparison with modern humans ”, explains Antonio García-Tabernero, a researcher at the MNCN. “Being the longest calcarine groove, the primary visual cortex was also more extensive in the Neanderthal when compared to modern humans,” concludes the MNCN researcher. The brain evolutionary processes of Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens are notable milestones in the paleoneurology of the genus Homo . Both reached a very high degree of encephalization, but through different evolutionary trajectories, producing several changes, not only in size, but also in neurological shape

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