Re: Brain size of AL 444-2

Ralph L Holloway (
Thu, 5 Oct 1995 10:58:22 -0400

On 4 Oct 1995, Jim Foley wrote:

> I read, I think in the first paper published about AL 444-2, that it was
> the largest australopithecine skull yet found? Are there any estimates
> on it's brain size yet?
> (AL 444-2 is a 70% complete skull of A.afarensis)

As far as I know, Yoel Rak and Bill Kimbel are working on the
cranial capacity of 444-2, and will be publishuing their estimate
reasonably soon (sorry, that is vague..). Having worked on a couple of
these Hadar brain endocasts, what preliminary things I've seen from
photos and measurements, I wouldn't be surprised if the 444-s was around
500ml, but that is just a guess. We should remember that the sexual
dimorphism of these early australos appears to be great ( unless you want
multiple species), and the more complete cranial stuff is for females,
e.g., AL-162-28; AL 345 (?) is male, and my estimate is about 485 ml. So
I would expect, with a meristic character like cranial capacity that
capacities over 500ml to be possible, but relkatively rare. There is also
talk, incidentally, of a large cranium from S. Africa (Sterkfontein) that
is possibly close to 600 ml.
Ralph Holloway