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Emiliano Bruner

Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Burgos (Spain)
Centro de Investigación en Enfermedades Neurológicas, Madrid (Spain)

Email: emiliano.bruner@cenieh.es

Website : www.paleoneurology.wordpress.com


Prehistory and Neuroscience


Evolutionary anthropology must rely on both paleontological and neontological evidence as to provide a reliable comparative framework to test hypotheses and theories. This requirement is even more stringent when dealing with brain and cognitive evolution, because of the noticeable difficulties when investigating anatomical and behavioural aspects in extinct species. Paleoneurology is the study of brain anatomy in fossil taxa. It largely deals with the functional and structural relationships between skull and brain in ontogeny and phylogeny, relying on digital anatomy, computed morphometrics and numerical modelling to perform intra- and inter-specific morphological comparisons. Neuroarchaeology, instead, investigates brain functions associated with behaviours inferred from the archaeological record. Finally, cognitive archaeology concerns the study of those same behaviours according to current psychological models. Namely, these three fields deal with brain anatomy, brain functions, and the cognitive process, respectively. A proper integration between these three perspectives is necessary to provide a consistent comparative background when making inference on brain evolution in fossil hominids.


Emiliano Bruner is PhD in Animal Biology for the University La Sapienza, Rome (Italy). Since 2007, he is Research Group Leader in Hominid Paleoneurobiology at the National Research Center for Human Evolution, Burgos (Spain). He has published more than 150 scientific papers, and his main research areas deal with human evolution, brain evolution, paleoneurology, comparative neuroanatomy, and cognitive archaeology. He employs a wide array of methods and techniques that includes geometric morphometrics, multivariate statistics, digital imaging, network analysis, electrodermal analysis, psychometrics and eye-tracking. His research is particularly focused on the evolution of the parietal lobes, and on the evolution of visuospatial integration, body perception, and attention. He is involved in science dissemination, writing for several Spanish magazines and blogs.