Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Hypoglossal Canal

Opening in the occipital bone through which the hypoglossal nerve passes. This nerve can be deduced to be large in human species, beginning with erectines, based on the size of the hypoglossal canal. The size of this canal contrasts with the narrow chimpanzee-like condition in the australopithecines and habilines. This is interpreted by some to mean that a complex spoken language began at the erectine stage of hominid evolution.

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