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This paper is a critical review of the article authored by Zollikofer and Ponce de Leo´n “Pandora’s Growing Box: Inferring the Evolution and Development of Hominin Brains from Endocasts” collected from The Journal of Evolutionary Anthropology.
The study postulates that the brain of humans is a product of the evolutionary and developmental process. The article sets out to examine the peculiar and evolutionary pattern of human brain, and its correlation with structural and functional changes (Zollikofer & De León, 2013).
The research article excels as a descriptive analytical research utilizing previously used data and literature to illuminate on the topic.
This affords the readers and future researchers an opportunity to benefit from the clear information gotten from the analysis. The method applied by the article suits the phenomenon under study.
The study has utilized numerous other studies to understand the research study. According to the researcher, combining the evidence from fossils and DNA sources, it is becoming clear how the structure of human mind has developed over the evolutionary period.
The objective of the developmental paleoneurology from which the study borrows, is to identify the changes in the brain ontogeny and to make inferences from the mechanisms that create these changes.
Reading the research article, I am thrilled with the statement “Comparative longitudinal MRI studies of brain development have revealed an interesting array of commonalities and differences in GM/ WM maturation between our closest relatives and ourselves.”
My choice of the quote is because I concur or agree with the researchers’ findings that the current living humankind is closely related to their immediate relatives (Zollikofer & De León, 2013).
This study’s finding confirms previous studies that have demonstrated the mediating role of time to create differences in brain capacity between past and modern humans. This quote is in conformity with the findings that language evolution is intimately correlated with cognitive skills such as production involving stone tools.
Hypothesis of the study
The researcher has clearly stated the hypothesis of the study with an aim to present the need to test the results of the study. The aim of this exercise is to determine whether the theory underpinning the study can be proven. It is the burden of the researcher to state a clear and testable hypothesis.
When this is conducted, however, the researcher should be alive to the fact that the hypothesis should be able to address the key purpose and answer the research question underpinning the study (Zollikofer & De León, 2013).
In the study, the researcher outlines the hypothesis of the study saying that the biomedical imaging has become a requisite tool used to test the endocast-brain mapping hypothesis.
The hypothesis of the study was to evaluate endo-cast brain, shape, size and the functional and structural relationship with the data collected from human fossils of early humans and living humans.
An analysis of the research article shows that the researchers utilized a wide range of literature that would offer the best ground needed for the familiarization and development of hypotheses based on previous research findings.
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In an accurate way, the authors of the article have achieved a plausible argument based on the scholarly resources utilized during the study and while constructing of the literature review (Zollikofer & De León, 2013).
The study clearly presents its results in a tubular form, which makes it easier of the average reader to make quick and easy inferences. The tabular analysis indicates the relative size of the brain of early man to the current one using the Endocranial Volume Estimates from fossils.
Clearly, the study has served to address the key issue of presenting results in a simple manner. In addition, the researcher has explained the results in a discussion to elaborate and clarify the tabulated figures to allow readers who cannot make inferences from statistical data.
The study notes that the biomedical imaging method used to assess the empirical evidence of the research is consistent with the challenges that face traditional questions.
The researcher admits that although the previous tool kit allows insights from quantitative studies that deal with the endocast-brain and the structure of human brain, large-scale genomics offers a better platform to examine the underpinnings of the functional relationships and the brain structure.
This means that latter method lends itself to permit the insights presented by the integral relationship between structural and functional structure of human brain (Zollikofer & De León, 2013).
The study asserts that understanding the combined phonetic and genetic factors should guide comprehension of the evolutionary and developmental processes that define differences in brain capacity of hominin and modern man.
The overarching evidence that was drawn from the behavioral evidence as well as DNA results relating to hominin fossils obtained from Netherlands and modern man demonstrates the need to conduct further studies (Zollikofer & De León, 2013).
This reasonable conclusion by the researcher demonstrates that the study appreciates the need to conduct further studies and that it does not endorse the findings as the final evidential outcomes, but rather as ground upon which future researches can be conducted to further knowledge about evolutionary the concept beforehand.
Zollikofer, C. P., & De León, M. S. (2013). Pandora’s Growing Box: Inferring the Evolution and Development of Hominin Brains from Endocasts. Evolutionary Anthropology, 22:20–33.