STL Science Center

STL Science Center

01 October 2013

Hesperocyon's Brain

More than one study has been conducted on canine brain evolution. This, in part, is most likely due to the fact that people love dogs; canines are man's best friend after all. There have also been recent (this article is from 1994, so not too recent) phylogenetic studies conducted on Hesperocyon as well, but I admit I am more interested in the brain question today. Both of the papers I have found on brain evolution in canids discuss the evolution of the entire lineage of canines from Hesperocyon to the modern members of the family. One study uses endocranial casts of skulls throughout the lineage to discuss the evolution of the canids whereas the second paper discusses the endocranial casts of only Hesperocyon gregarius and Hesperocyon sp. to draw conclusions about the evolution of the canine brain. The former is available with purchase, subscription, or library loan and, while it appears to be solid in its science, that is only a preliminary conclusion drawn from the abstract. The latter paper is available for free, is a a fairly good read, and does provide a lot of good information in addition to a few very high detail images of skull casts, which are great to look at.

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