Dating human skull
Functions of the skull include protection of the brain, fixing the distance between the eyes to allow stereoscopic vision, and fixing the position of the ears to enable sound localisation of the direction and distance of sounds.In some animals such as horned ungulates, the skull also has a defensive function by providing the mount (on the frontal bone) for the horns.The hyoid bone, supporting the larynx, is usually not considered as part of the skull, as it is the only bone that does not articulate with other bones of the skull.The skull also contains the sinus cavities, which are air-filled cavities lined with respiratory epithelium, which also lines the large airways.The English word "skull" is probably derived from Old Norse "skulle", while the Latin word cranium comes from the Greek root κρανίον (kranion).
The material in the skull can not have been washed out or replaced by water flowing down the gully because "the force required to scour the inner-most sediments would certainly have resulted in substantial damage" of the skull, and the skull did not appear to the dating team to have been damaged that much.
The skull is one of only a few African specimens of early modern humans dated over 30,000 years in age.
Others are much more recent, dated to around 20,000 years ago.
Fourteen bones form the splanchnocranium, which comprises the bones supporting the face.
Encased within the temporal bones are the six auditory ossicles of the middle ear.