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The hypoglossal canals, a pair of bony tubes located on the left and right sides of the skull's base, were nominated just last year as skeletal signposts of speech.
The scientists first observed that the area of the hypoglossal canal relative to the mouth's overall size averages nearly twice as large in 48 modern human skulls as in comparable samples of chimpanzee and gorilla skulls.
This maneuver is the key to achieving the desired exposure, and it greatly enhances access to the clivus and to the most medial portion of the occipital condyle, which we resected up to the hypoglossal canal.