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Occipital bun

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Occipital bun is a morphological term used to describe a prominent bulge, or projection, of the occipital bone at the back of the skull. The term is most often used in connection with scientific descriptions of classic Neanderthal crania. While common among many of mankind's ancestors, primarily robust relatives rather than gracile, the protrusion is relatively rare in modern Homo sapiens.

Some scientists suspect occipital buns might correlate with the biomechanics of running. Another theory attributes them to enlargement of the cerebellum, a region of the brain which mediates the timing of motor actions and spatial reasoning.

There are still many human populations which often exhibit occipital buns. A greater proportion of early modern Europeans had them, but prominent occipital buns even among Europeans are now relatively infrequent. They are still found fairly often among Basque, Sami and Finn individuals.[citation needed] Bushmen from South Africa and Australian aborigines often have occipital buns also.[citation needed]

A study conducted by Lieberman, Pearson and Mowbray provides evidence that individuals with narrow heads (dolicocephalic) or narrow cranial bases and relatively large brains are more likely to have occipital buns as a means of resolving a spatial packing problem. [1]


See also

External links

  • - 'Neanderthals on Trial' (January 22, 2002)