Amazing document!
A cyclop’s skull …

(a new species? cyclopism? what about hybrids!?)




5 responses to “Polyphemus

  • alannahpearson

    If this skull represented a true cyclops as a real pathology, it cannot be evolutionary development that is selected for based on the reasoning that all living mammals have two eyes and never just the one. Then, it can only be pathological. What must change anatomically for a cyclops to develop despite such basic structural genetic mutations?
    For vision, if during very early development only a single eye is truly possessed, there would be no need for the optic chiasm to be present and hence no binocular and no stereoscopic vision.
    For the brain as a whole, if the cranial base angle is still similar, constraint on the frontal and temporal lobes would be different with the orbital bones and sphenoid being very different possibly causing the frontal lobes to curve above and around the orbit fitting directly onto the temporal lobes.
    Then there would be significant changes to the distribution and pattern of the head vasculature and facial and cranial nerves.

  • emilianobruner

    There are strange mutations that can alter early morphogenetic stages … even those preceding the organization of bilateral structures … Anyway we have only the skull, so we know the cyclop had one orbit, but we don’t know the anatomy of the eye/eyes. Or, maybe there was no eye at all. Just a vestigial remnant tissue.

    The genetic problem is more on the demographic side: they lived in caves, and caves are too few to support a proper settlement with a decent population size. So mating problems and much inbreeding, at best.

    Of course with a median large orbit the frontal lobes should be displaced laterally … or posteriorly, but in this case the cyclop would have had a huge Homo erectus-like frontal torus …

  • Sofia Pedro

    Cyclopia is a severe case of a congenital disorder in which the forebrain fails to develop into two hemispheres, and the eyes combine into one structure. It is a genetic malfunction usually resulting in abortion.

    In the skull above, the position of the eye socket in the middle of the face would also restrain the development of the nasal cavity, affecting the upper respiratory tract, probably cause difficulty to breathe.

    As mentioned, the frontal lobes would be laterally displaced; however, the skull seems too narrow for the brain to have expanded much.

  • GRL

    The cyclops is an intriguing mythological creature, well-known by the histories of Hesiod. If we hypothesize about his cranial anatomy, we might think that for having a unique orbital foramen, the brain of a cyclops could have occupied a large space within the cranial vault. Therefore, its frontal eminences would be very pronounced. The cerebral geometry and vascular distribution, both cranial and endocranial, would be conditioned to the morphology of the skull and vice versa. Perhaps, the vascular system of the cyclops was more developed around the frontal and occipital area to somehow enhance its functionality. The cyclops, according to mythology, was strong, stubborn and clumsy. We may hypothesize that the visuospatial integration abilities of a cyclops were limited to their monocular vision, which prevented a correct hand-eye coordination and control of distances.

  • emilianobruner

    Ok, so a giant guy with tired breadth, bossing temples, and clumsy movements … Maybe living in caves can reduce the problems due to lack of binocular vision … I would add frequent headaches: such a large brain should not be easy to cool at all! But, also in this case, cave life style can reduce heat …

    However, if ciclopy is a condition associated with early morphogenesis and lack of hemispheric bilateral separation and development, cognitive consequences for those legendary creatures should be quite strong, taking into account a probable absence or limitation of functional asymmetries. Otherwise, if it is a condition associated with later developmental stages and it deals only with orbit/eye development, it can be interesting to evaluate how the single or doubled optic nerve distributes its fibers to the brain.

    Here a hypothetical brain/endocast of Polyphemus …

    This link is on … the real ones!

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