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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 / Frontal sinuses and human evolution

Antoine Balzeau, Lou Albessard-Ball, Anna Kubicka, Andréa Filippo, Amélie Beaudet, Elena Santos, Thibault Bienvenu, Juan-Luis Arsuaga, Antonis Bartsiokas, Lee Berger, José Castro, Michel Brunet, Kristian Carlson, Joan Daura, Vassilis Gorgoulis, Frederick Grine, Katerina Harvati, John Hawks, Andy Herries, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Jiaming Hui, Rachel Ives, Josephine Joordens, Yousuke Kaifu, Mirsini Kouloukoussa, Baptiste Léger, David Lordkipanidze, Ann Margvelashvili, Jesse Martin, María Martinón-Torres, Hila May, Aurélien Mounier, Anton Plessis, Todd Rae, Carolin Röding, Montserrat Sanz, Patrick Semal, Dominic Stratford, Chris Stringer, Mirriam Tawane, Heiko Temming, Evangelia Tsoukala, João Zilhão, Bernhard Zipfel, and Laura Buck (2022)

Frontal sinuses and human evolution

Science Advances, 8(42):eabp9767.

The frontal sinuses are cavities inside the frontal bone located at the junction between the face and the cranial vault and close to the brain. Despite a long history of study, understanding of their origin and variation through evolution is limited. This work compares most hominin species’ holotypes and other key individuals with extant hominids. It provides a unique and valuable perspective of the variation in sinuses position, shape, and dimensions based on a simple and reproducible methodology. We also observed a covariation between the size and shape of the sinuses and the underlying frontal lobes in hominin species from at least the appearance of Homo erectus. Our results additionally undermine hypotheses stating that hominin frontal sinuses were directly affected by biomechanical constraints resulting from either chewing or adaptation to climate. Last, we demonstrate their substantial potential for discussions of the evolutionary relationships between hominin species. Variation in frontal sinus shape and dimensions has high potential for phylogenetic discussion when studying human evolution.

RBINS Collection(s), PDF available, Open Access, Impact Factor, International Redaction Board
  • DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abp9767