Posted in biology, communication and networking, design and architecture, education, medical imaging, museum

Building a better paleohominin

This is only the abstract of the paper, but I was so excited to see it featured on the homepage of the AAAA Science website

Michael Balter has written an entire scientific paper devoted to different methods of more accurately interpreting early hominid beings through art, and how these 3D interpretations effect scientists’ perceptions of the fossils. He explains in the article’s abstract:

As the number of hominin fossil discoveries has exploded in recent years, researchers and paleoartists alike have been working overtime to refine their visions of what our ancestors looked like. In the past, because of gaps in the fossil record, paleoartists tended to represent early humans as half-chimp and half-human. But recent finds, including candidate hominins dated to 5 million to 7 million years ago, have spurred demand by museum directors and magazine editors for increasingly lifelike, three-dimensional hominin recreations. The interplay between art and science makes reconstruction a two-way street. Some researchers argue that reconstructions influence how scientists view ancient hominins and interpret their behavior. Yet the comfort level about reconstructions varies among scientists.

If you have access to the Science website, you can also read the more newsy article and/or listen to the podcast discussing this.

“Bringing Hominins Back to Life”
Michael Balter
Science 10 July 2009:
Vol. 325. no. 5937, pp. 136 – 139
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_136



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.