Sage Bitter

Having to brush your teeth!
Seattle WA

Reconstructions of Early Humans

Artist John Gurche used the latest forensic techniques, fossil discoveries, and 20 years of experience to create the lifelike head reconstructions of early humans on display in the Hall of Human Origins, as well as the full-body reconstruction of the fossil nicknamed "Lucy" (AL 288-1). The painstaking process required a detailed knowledge of human and ape anatomy.

Our big hungry brain!

Did you know that your brain makes up about 2% of your body weight…but uses about 20-25% of your body’s total energy, just for its basic activity? That’s one hungry brain!  No wonder it’s good to eat nutritious foods that offer a lot of energy. The brain of a newborn baby is even more amazing, as it takes up about 60% of the baby’s energy as the brain grows at an astonishing pace.

The short-haired human!

While other primates are furry, human skin is exposed to the elements. It’s not that we’re ‘naked’ – our hair is just really short over much of our bodies. In the warm places where our ancestors lived, evaporation of sweat from exposed skin was a great benefit in cooling our entire bodies. Our brain runs so ‘hot’, in fact, that sweating and cooling proved vital for evolving our big brain.

Why do we have wisdom teeth?

When our back molars are impacted in our jaw, they don’t seem very wise! They’re the last teeth to come into place, and having them was helpful to our early ancestors who ate tough, uncooked foods that wore away their teeth. But with cooking and making food softer, the size of our jaws has diminished, often with room for the last molars to form in the jaw…but – ouch! – not enough room to erupt.


Homo neanderthalensis


Scan Image: 
Homo neanderthalensis 3D model Teshik-Tash cranium
Related Specimen: 

Human Family Tree

Love My Job

Members of the Human Origins Program team describe what they do and how much they enjoy their work.

Video Thumbnail of Matt Tocheri from "Love My Job"
Martin Huberman
Media Length: 

HO - Love My Job


KNM-ER 406

Paranthropus boisei

Scan Image: 
Paranthropus boisei 3D model KNM-ER 406 cranium
Related Specimen: 
Syndicate content