Representações visuais de nosso passado evolutivo: atualmente são mais arte do que ciência.

segunda-feira, março 22, 2021

Front. Ecol. Evol., 26 February 2021 |

Visual Depictions of Our Evolutionary Past: A Broad Case Study Concerning the Need for Quantitative Methods of Soft Tissue Reconstruction and Art-Science Collaborations

Ryan M. Campbell1*†, Gabriel Vinas2†, Maciej Henneberg1,3† and Rui Diogo4†

1Department of Anatomy & Pathology, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia

2Department of Sculpture, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, United States

3Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

4Department of Anatomy, Howard University, Washington, DC, United States

Two facial reconstructions of the Taung child (without hair and pigment) that were produced 1 year apart. Please note how variability between these reconstructions is exemplified by the subjective decision to depict the subject as more apelike (A) or more humanlike (B).

Flip through scientific textbooks illustrating ideas about human evolution or visit any number of museums of natural history and you will notice an abundance of reconstructions attempting to depict the appearance of ancient hominins. Spend some time comparing reconstructions of the same specimen and notice an obvious fact: hominin reconstructions vary in appearance considerably. In this review, we summarize existing methods of reconstruction to analyze this variability. It is argued that variability between hominin reconstructions is likely the result of unreliable reconstruction methods and misinterpretation of available evidence. We also discuss the risk of disseminating erroneous ideas about human evolution through the use of unscientific reconstructions in museums and publications. The role an artist plays is also analyzed and criticized given how the aforementioned reconstructions have become readily accepted to line the halls of even the most trusted institutions. In conclusion, improved reconstruction methods hold promise for the prediction of hominin soft tissues, as well as for disseminating current scientific understandings of human evolution in the future.

FREE PDF GRATIS: Front. Ecol. Evol.