The bones being studied are two million years old and the malleus is human like in size and shape, easily distinguishably from our nearest living relatives apes, chimpanzees and orang-utans
(PRWEB UK) 17 May 2013
An international team of anthropologists are studying the tiny ear bones of human ancestors to look for clues into evolution and development of modern day humans – according to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences entitled ‘Early hominin auditory ossicles from South Africa’.
Led by Binghamton University, the researchers are looking at ear bones from two species of early human ancestors in South Africa called Paranthropus Robustus and Australopitheous Africanus. They have studied the complete ossicles chain, which unlike other bones in the skeleton, are already fully formed and adult sized from birth.
This determines that the size and the shape of the ossicles bones are under very strong genetic control and could hold a wealth of evolutionary information.
The bones being studied are two million years old and the malleus is human like in size and shape, easily distinguishably from our nearest living relatives apes, chimpanzees and orang-utans. This shows that our ear bones may have occurred early in the evolutionary history.
It demonstrates different hearing capacities in early Hominin Taxa compared to modern humans, and the team plan to steed the functional aspects of the ear in a 3D virtual reconstruction hoping to provide a pattern of when hearing may have evolved.
A spokesperson from Hidden Hearing said:
“It is interesting to be able to understand how human hearing evolved to what it is today and what traits we have in common from our ancestors. Understanding how our ears evolved will provide some interesting insight into how we hear today and perhaps more insight into hearing loss.”
With more than 40 years’ experience in treating hearing loss, Hidden Hearing is entrusted with the care of more than 100,000 people each year. The firm has 84 hearing centres across the UK, all catering for a range of needs and budgets. Specialising in hearing tests and hearing aids, the company also offer a variety of hearing aid accessories and in 2005, became the first dedicated hearing retailer to be recognised as an Investor in People.