A study reassess the natural brain cast of the Neanderthal of Gánovce

The CENIEH researcher Emiliano Bruner has coordinated the paper published in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences, which studies the endocranial cast of this fossil found in the Slovak Republic in 1926

Emiliano Bruner, a paleoneurologist at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has coordinated a paper which has just been published in the Journal of Anthropological Sciences, on the endocranial cast of the fossil of Gánovce (Slovak Republic), a Neanderthal individual 105,000 years old.

Even though it was discovered almost a century ago (it was found in 1926), the fossil is not very well-known by the international community, because the results of the analyses conducted on this specimen were published principally in Czech or in Slovak between the 1940s and 1960s.

“On very rare occasions, as is the case here, the endocranial cast is formed naturally: the geological sediment enters into the cranial cavity and solidifies, while the bones of the cranium are subsequently lost to leave the cast in stone”, explains Stanislava Eisová, a doctoral student on Bruner's team, who carried out this study.

Computerized Tomography

This paper is a review of the literature published in Czech and in Slovak, and it considers the paleoneurological features of the cast in the light of modern theories in this field, with a new reconstruction based on computerized tomography.

The cerebral anatomy of this individual shows typically Neanderthal traits, with small and flat parietal lobes, pronounced occipital lobes, and very wide frontal lobes.

“This fossil, together with the Saccopastore 1 cranium found in Rome in the first half of the last century, suggests that the anatomy of the Neanderthal brain had already evolved 100-200 thousand years ago, a long time before this extinct group attained its large cranial capacity”, concludes Bruner.

This study, entitled “The Neanderthal endocast from Gánovce (Poprad, Slovak Republic”, was carried out under the auspices of a collaboration with the National Museum in Prague, where this fossil is currently deposited.



Eisová S., Velemínský P. & Bruner E. 2019. The Neanderthal endocast from Gánovce (Poprad, Slovak Republic). Journal of Anthropological Sciences (in press).