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A preview of Shaping Humanity

Shaping Humanity

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview (PDF) of John Gurche's Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins (Yale University Press, 2013). The preview consists of chapter 3, "The Impossible Discovery," in which Gurche relates the history of Raymond Dart's discovery of the Taung skull, explains the current state of paleoanthropological thinking about Australopithecus africanus, and describes his own work reconstructing the head of A. africanus for the new Hall of Human Origins at the Smithsonian Institution.

"John Gurche brilliantly brings the long human past alive with his powerful reconstructions of our extinct precursors, and skillfully explains just where the boundaries lie between art and science in his demanding profession," writes Ian Tattersall. Gurche is artist-in-residence at the Paleontological Research Institute's Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York; his paleoanthropological sculptures appear in major natural history museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Field Museum.