This is resin cast copy of Neandrethal brain - the endocranial cast of the fossil of Gánovce (Slovak Republic), a Neanderthal individual.
It is the fossilised cranium of a Neanderthal man, who died in the Gánovce Hrádok area near Poprad. So far, only a few fossilised crania have been found.
The item has 1,8 kg and its size is cca 18 x 14 x 11 cm.
Even though it was discovered almost a century ago (it was found in 1926), the fossil is not very well-known by the international community, because the results of the analyses conducted on this specimen were published principally in Czech or in Slovak between the 1940s and 1960s.
Eisová S., Velemínský P. & Bruner E. 2019. The Neanderthal endocast from Gánovce (Poprad, Slovak Republic). Journal of Anthropological Sciences.
A Neanderthal endocast, naturally formed by travertine within the crater of a thermal spring, was found at Gánovce, near Poprad (Slovakia), in 1926, and dated to 105 ka. The endocast is partially covered by fragments of the braincase. The volume of the endocast was estimated to be 1320 cc. The endocast was first studied by the Czech paleoanthropologist Emanuel Vlček, who performed metric and morphological analyses which suggested its Neanderthal origin. Vlček published his works more than fifty years ago, but the fossil is scarcely known to the general paleoanthropological community, probably because of language barriers. Here, we review the historical and anatomical information available on the endocasts, providing additional paleoneurological assessments on its features. The endocast displays typical Neanderthal traits, and its overall appearance is similar to Guattari 1, mostly because of the pronounced frontal width and occipital bulging. The morphology of the Gánovce specimen suggests once more that the Neanderthal endocranial phenotype had already evolved at 100 ka.
“On very rare occasions, as is the case here, the endocranial cast is formed naturally: the geological sediment enters into the cranial cavity and solidifies, while the bones of the cranium are subsequently lost to leave the cast in stone”, explains Stanislava Eisová, a doctoral student on Bruner's team, who carried out this study.
This paper is a review of the literature published in Czech and in Slovak, and it considers the paleoneurological features of the cast in the light of modern theories in this field, with a new reconstruction based on computerized tomography.
The cerebral anatomy of this individual shows typically Neanderthal traits, with small and flat parietal lobes, pronounced occipital lobes, and very wide frontal lobes.
“This fossil, together with the Saccopastore 1 cranium found in Rome in the first half of the last century, suggests that the anatomy of the Neanderthal brain had already evolved 100-200 thousand years ago, a long time before this extinct group attained its large cranial capacity”, concludes Bruner.
This study, entitled “The Neanderthal endocast from Gánovce (Poprad, Slovak Republic”, was carried out under the auspices of a collaboration with the National Museum in Prague, where this fossil is currently deposited.
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