ADVERTISEMENT

Your (Very) Extended Family History [Slide Show]

A new exhibit reveals the skeletons in everyone's closet

1 of 15

ORIGINAL AIRBRUSH

Early artists employed various techniques for applying pigment to surfaces. One method seems to have been blowing paint onto the wall.....[ More ]

ANCIENT JEWELRY

Pierced periwinkle shells found at the site of Cro-Magnon in France date to around 30,000 years ago. Details of the perforations and wear marks on the shells indicate that humans made the holes and strung the shells together tightly, creating a necklace.....[ More ]

THE REAL HOBBIT

Homo floresiensis was a mini-human species that lived as recently as 17,000 years ago on the island of Flores in Indonesia. It stood roughly a meter high and had a brain the size of a grapefruit.....[ More ]

KISSING COUSINS

The original fossil skulls of a Neandertal from La Ferrassie, France [ left ], and an anatomically modern human from Cro-Magnon, France [ right ], are on display for the first time in the U.S.....[ More ]

NEANDERTAL VISAGE

Neandertals lived in Eurasia between roughly 230,000 and 28,000 years ago. The reason for their demise remains a mystery. Paleo-artist John Gurche creates forensic reconstructions of ancient humans like this one by sculpting a sequence of muscle, fat and skin onto replicas of fossil skulls.....[ More ]

NEANDERTAL SKELETON

This original skeleton of a Neandertal recovered from Shanidar Cave in Iraq is between 45,000 and 35,000 years old and is the only original Neandertal fossil housed in the U.S.....[ More ]

FIRST CAMPFIRE

The earliest solid evidence for controlled use of fire comes from the site of Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in Israel and dates to around 790,000 years ago.....[ More ]

BRINGING HOME THE BACON

Homo erectus lugs an antelope home to her family. An increased reliance on meat, which is rich in calories and nutrients, seems to have been a key factor in the evolution of our large, metabolically demanding brains.....[ More ]

FAMILY RESEMBLANCE

The face-morphing station allows visitors to see what they would look like as an early human—in this case, a Neandertal.....[ More ]

DINNER FOR TWO

Homo heidelbergensis , which many researchers consider to be the last common ancestor of Neandertals and anatomically modern humans, proffers meat to any visitor who cares to join him.....[ More ]

SHAPE SHIFTING

Early members of the human family, such as Australopithecus afarensis [ middle ], retained a number of apelike traits, such as long arms and a small brain. Homo erectus [ left ] was the first human species to exhibit modern proportions.....[ More ]

CUTTING-EDGE TOOLS

Our forebears used large, pointed stone tools called hand axes for more than a million years. Above are examples from Olduvai Gorge in Africa (1.6 million years old) [ left ],  Isampur in India (1.1 million years old) [ middle ] and Meyral in France (250,000 years old) [ right ].....[ More ]

DIGGING FOR DINNER

Paranthropus boisei , an australopithecine species that lived in Africa between 2.3 million and 1.4 million years ago, unearths a tuber. This life-size bronze and the others in the exhibit are the work of paleo-artist John Gurche.....[ More ]

TIME TRAVEL

Visitors enter the exhibition through a "time tunnel," which encapsulates humanity's 6-million-year journey.....[ More ]

TRANSITIONAL SPECIES

Australopithecus afarensis lived between 3.7 million and 3 million years ago. Best known from the "Lucy" fossil, it walked upright yet had a small brain. A. afarensis is one of several candidates for the ancestor of our genus Homo .....[ More ]

risk free title graphic

YES! Send me a free issue of Scientific American with no obligation to continue the subscription. If I like it, I will be billed for the one-year subscription.

cover image Subscribe Now
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Share this Article:
Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>

X

Email this Article

X