Supplementary Material for: Identification of in vivo Sulci on the External Surface of Eight Adult Chimpanzee Brains: Implications for Interpreting Early Hominin Endocasts

The only direct source of information about hominin brain evolution comes from the fossil record of endocranial casts (endocasts) that reproduce details of the external morphology of the brain imprinted on the walls of the braincase during life. Surface traces of sulci that separate the brain’s convolutions (gyri) are reproduced sporadically on early hominin endocasts. Paleoneurologists rely heavily on published descriptions of sulci on brains of great apes, especially chimpanzees (humans’ phylogenetically closest living relatives), to guide their identifications of sulci on ape-sized hominin endocasts. However, the few comprehensive descriptions of cortical sulci published for chimpanzees usually relied on post mortem brains, (now) antiquated terminology for some sulci, and photographs or line drawings from limited perspectives (typically right or left lateral views). The shortage of adequate descriptions of chimpanzee sulcal patterns partly explains why the identities of certain sulci on australopithecine endocasts (e.g., the inferior frontal and middle frontal sulci) have been controversial. Here, we provide images of lateral and dorsal surfaces of 16 hemispheres from 4 male and 4 female adult chimpanzee brains that were obtained using in vivo magnetic resonance imaging. Sulci on the exposed surfaces of the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital lobes are identified on the images based on their locations, positions relative to each other, and homologies known from comparative studies of cytoarchitecture in primates. These images and sulcal identifications exceed the quantity and quality of previously published illustrations of chimpanzee brains with comprehensively labeled sulci and, thus, provide a larger number of examples for identifying sulci on hominin endocasts than hitherto available. Our findings, even in a small sample like the present one, overturn published claims that australopithecine endocasts reproduce derived configurations of certain sulci in their frontal lobes that never appear on chimpanzee brains. The sulcal patterns in these new images also suggest that changes in two gyri that bridge between the parietal and occipital lobes may have contributed to cortical reorganization in early hominins. It is our hope that these labeled in vivo chimpanzee brains will assist future researchers in identifying sulci on hominin endocasts, which is a necessary first step in the quest to learn how and when the external morphology of the human cerebral cortex evolved from apelike precursors.