Hole-in-the-Head Disease in the Middle Pleistocene


I couldn’t have said it any better myself. The South China Morning Post (SCMP) got on the interbreeding bandwagon today. Well, really, they were just announcing the article by Wu, Xing and Trinkaus about the palaeo-occurrence of what’s called a discrete trait in osteological circles—that of an enlarged parietal foramen. It’s a genetic defect affecting ossification of the braincase near where the two parietal bones articulate with the occipital. I’ve already said enough on the actual article. But I couldn’t resist having another kick at the cat using the idiomatically unfortunate translation of the defect’s name that the SCMP gave to the disease.

As for the PLOS ONE article itself, the argument is threadbare. Honest. Go back and see what I said. These guys should know better!

Wu X-J, Xing S, Trinkaus E (2013) “An Enlarged Parietal Foramen in the Late Archaic Xujiayao 11 Neurocranium from Northern China, and Rare Anomalies among Pleistocene Homo.” PLoS ONE 8(3): e59587. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059587

Actually, the more I write about stuff like this, the more I think that I must have a form of hole-in-the-head disease, too.

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