A Closer Look at Evolutionary Faces- page 7 | Science | Smithsonian
"Paleo-artist" John Gurche recreates the faces of our earliest ancestors, some of who have been extinct for millions of years. (Courtesy of John Gurche)

A Closer Look at Evolutionary Faces

John Gurche, a “paleo-artist,” has recreated strikingly realistic heads of our earliest human ancestors for a new exhibit

Homo floresiensis

Homo floresiensis
(Courtesy of John Gurche)

A mere 18,000 years old, Homo floresiensis was tiny – only about three-and-half feet tall, with huge feet, which has led to its nickname: the Hobbit. It had a “teeny brain,” Gurche says. H. floresiensis remains something of a mystery. Some researchers originally thought the hominid, found on the island of Flores in Indonesia, was a dwarfed H. erectus. Others now think it is a different species that left Africa before H. erectus. “All I can say is, stay tuned, folks,” Gurche says.

H. floresiensis overlapped in time with Homo sapiens, and the two species may have met. “What I wanted to get into the face was a sort of wariness,” as though the primitive little hominid is really encountering a human. “What would we have seemed like to them?”

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