The ascent of man

The ascent of man is the story of how we came to be human, the story of the risen ape. Alas, as with many stories most of its iterations lack scientific credibility. So with an afternoon to kill, I thought I’d try making a more evidence based image. I hope you enjoy.

This is one of those pictures you’re going to have to click on for the full size image. Then zoom in some more, for full effect.

Small print (in regular sized font)

These are images of hominin skulls (and a chimp) taken from Eskeletons and the Smithsonian 3D skull page (the latter is very cool, go check it out) and the literature. Unfortunately few of these came with measurements so some are likely not to scale. Whilst any scaling errors are minor, they still exist. The orientation of the skulls is the best I could figure based on the angle of the foramen magnum, so again there may be some minor errors here. Aside from the chimp, all are believed to be either on the human lineage or very close relatives to the human lineage. That means no neanderthals or paranthropines are included in the image. I’ve omitted species names in an attempt to highlight how such distinctions are arbitrary and you’re really looking at a gradual progression.

EvoAnth needs your help

Despite my best efforts, this image is still incomplete. High quality sagittal views of hominin skulls are hard to come by and my photo manipulation skulls are plain lousy (you may have noticed the time-line is not to scale. I can’t create scaled lines). So if you can make a better time-line, can improve the image in general or come across a side view of a skull please give it to me so I can update the image. And of course, your feedback is always welcome.

6 thoughts on “The ascent of man

  1. I wouldn’t even attempt to get them precisely to scale because measurements should NOT be taken on photographs for exactly that reason; angle, lenses and so on can distort measurements. Just ADMIT they are not perfectly to scale & be done with it. Otherwise, a great start!

    • I was hoping there’d be a scale given with the images, but the human, chimp and Au. sediba were the only ones which came with one. Unfortunatley they were all different scales! So in the end I just didn’t bother.

  2. Pingback: Leakey Evolution « Eye on the ICR

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