Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, And Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins

by John Gurche

Yale University Press | November 26, 2013 | Hardcover

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What did earlier humans really look like? What was life like for them, millions of years ago? How do we know? In this book, internationally renowned paleoartist John Gurche describes the extraordinary process by which he creates forensically accurate and hauntingly realistic representations of our ancient human ancestors.
 
Inspired by a lifelong fascination with all things prehistoric, and gifted with a unique artistic vision, Gurche has studied fossil remains, comparative ape and human anatomy, and forensic reconstruction for over three decades. His artworks appear in world-class museums and publications ranging from National Geographic to the journal Science, and he is widely known for his contributions to Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park and a number of acclaimed television specials. For the Smithsonian Institution's groundbreaking David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, opened in 2010, Gurche created fifteen sculptures representing six million years of human history. In Shaping Humanity he relates how he worked with a team of scientists to depict human evolution in sculpture for the new hall. He reveals the debates and brainstorming that surround these often controversial depictions, and along the way he enriches our awareness of the various paths of human evolution and humanity's stunning uniqueness in the history of life on Earth.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 3.94 × 3.35 × 11.42 in

Published: November 26, 2013

Publisher: Yale University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0300182023

ISBN - 13: 9780300182026

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Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, And Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins

by John Gurche

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 368 pages, 3.94 × 3.35 × 11.42 in

Published: November 26, 2013

Publisher: Yale University Press

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0300182023

ISBN - 13: 9780300182026

From the Publisher

What did earlier humans really look like? What was life like for them, millions of years ago? How do we know? In this book, internationally renowned paleoartist John Gurche describes the extraordinary process by which he creates forensically accurate and hauntingly realistic representations of our ancient human ancestors.
 
Inspired by a lifelong fascination with all things prehistoric, and gifted with a unique artistic vision, Gurche has studied fossil remains, comparative ape and human anatomy, and forensic reconstruction for over three decades. His artworks appear in world-class museums and publications ranging from National Geographic to the journal Science, and he is widely known for his contributions to Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park and a number of acclaimed television specials. For the Smithsonian Institution's groundbreaking David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, opened in 2010, Gurche created fifteen sculptures representing six million years of human history. In Shaping Humanity he relates how he worked with a team of scientists to depict human evolution in sculpture for the new hall. He reveals the debates and brainstorming that surround these often controversial depictions, and along the way he enriches our awareness of the various paths of human evolution and humanity's stunning uniqueness in the history of life on Earth.

About the Author

Award-winning paleo-artist John Gurche is artist-in-residence, Museum of the Earth, Paleontological Research Institute, Ithaca, NY. His works have appeared frequently in National Geographic and similar publications and in major natural history museums including the Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Field Museum. He lives in Trumansburg, NY.

Editorial Reviews

"Paleoartist John Gurche crafts hyperrealistic sculptures of extinct hominins, built up from casts or three-dimensional models of their skeletons. . . . [A] coffee-table gem."-Nature
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