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Who were the hominins associated to the oldest tools that were found in East Africa? If the lithic artefacts could be mute on these aspects of our history, the field of (paleo)neurology may contribute to the ongoing debates on the identity of the first toolmakers and the assessment of their cognitive capacities. In this paper, we provide a brief synthesis of what we know about the cerebral condition of Australopithecus, Paranthropus and early Homo, which are the potential earliest tool makers. We also demonstrate how, from the study of fossil remains of our ancestors and the use of imaging and 3D modelling techniques, we can reconstruct the evolutionary history of the brain of our ancestors and their behaviours. In particular, we insist on the interest of developing a multidisciplinary approach combining experiments (e.g., replicating the processes involved in toolmaking), imaging (e.g., functional MRIs, microtomography), paleoanthropology (e.g., identifying fossil remains) and statistics (e.g., shape analyses) for addressing these questions.
Pour citer cet article :Beaudet Amélie, Fonta Caroline (2020/2). Human Origins: Tracking the Human Biological and Cultural Evolution from the Study of the Brain of our Ancestors. In A. de Beaune Sophie (Eds), Emergence and evolution of human cognition, Intellectica, 73, (pp.93-106), DOI: n/a.