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Were Early Hominids Smarter Than Us?

A sketched reconstruction if the Boskop skull done in 1918. Shaded areas depict recovered bone. Image Courtesy: the American Museum of Natural HistoryA pair of neuroscientists are promoting a theory that the Boskops — which sound like the name of those quiet neighbors down the street — but are actually the name for an earlier race of humans that didn’t make evolution’s cut — were smarter than we are, which isn’t too difficult to believe having recently been to a professional hockey game… but still.

Gary Lynch and Richard Granger claim that the Boskops had big eyes, child-like faces, and an average intelligence of around 150. They were also neotonous. Quoting from an excerpt from their book Big Brain, featured in a recent issue of Discover:

"These people had small, childlike faces. Physical anthropologists use the term pedomorphosis to describe the retention of juvenile features into adulthood. This phenomenon is sometimes used to explain rapid evolutionary changes. For example, certain amphibians retain fishlike gills even when fully mature and past their water-inhabiting period. Humans are said by some to be pedomorphic compared with other primates.Our facial structure bears some resemblance to that of an immature ape. Boskop’s appearance may be described in terms of this trait…

"The combination of a large cranium and immature face would look decidedly unusual to modern eyes, but not entirely unfamiliar. Such faces peer out from the covers of countless science fiction books and are often attached to ‘alien abductors’ in movies."

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