How an artist draws on fossil discoveries and forensic techniques to create transfixing reconstructions of long lost human ancestors 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 Spielbergs Jurassic Park and a number of acclaimed television specials For the Smithsonian Institutions 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 humanitys stunning uniqueness in the history of life on Earth....
|Title||:||Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins|
|Publisher||:||Yale University Press Reprint edition August 5, 2015|
|Number of Pages||:||368 pages|
|File Size||:||764 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Shaping Humanity: How Science, Art, and Imagination Help Us Understand Our Origins Reviews
The book explains the science used in the identification of the physical markers left by muscles on the skulls and the proportions of the limbs and body,, the same techniques that make his forensic reconstructions likely as accurate as forensic reconstructions used by police in an effort to identify unknown victims of crime. Part science, part art, I found the process fascinating There are elements that he is able to approach with some certainty, and other elements that are educated guesses, all of whcih are woven into a gesalt to give an appealing glimpse of these past species that may or may not be on the path to humanity. His study of the "Hobbit" was equally appealing I also found interesting his discussion of the "splitters and lumpers" and some about the personalities of those paleoanthropologists who spend their lives searching out the sparse clues of our potential past, and how they have found new tools to make more accurate their own assessments mostly without abandoning their theoretical positions. . Scentists are deriving older and older DNA from older and older bones, and as their technique improves, the story may change, so it is actually and dynamic process. Will his reconstructions stand up to new information? That remains to be seen in perhaps another 20 or so years, though recent work in paleo-DNA is showing that the human family tree may be more "bushy" than "twiggy" and the splitters may win out.
One serendipitous result of me reviewing the book “Seven Skeletons,” which is about why some hominin specimens become cultural icons, was to become aware of the book “Shaping Humanity” by John Gurche, which was published in 2013. I used to think of John Gurche as one of the old-school paleoartists that specialize in painting dinosaurs, since most of the work I was familiar with is from before 1990. That is way too limiting. Gurche nowadays specializes in early humans, and he is also an amazing sculptor.
A history of human development and evolution by an incredible artist who reconstructs the faces and bodies of ancient Man from their skeletons. When the faces look out at you from the pages, you swear that the faces are alive! If you're interested in the evolution of humans, this is a wonderful book. If you're interested in an unusually intimate view of early Man, artfully reconstructed by a gifted artist, this book is definitely worth the price. I haven't put it down since I recieved it several days ago! Amazing!
This review will be a little premature as I have not completed reading it. I have looked at all the amazing artwork and have been impressed so far with the way Gurche explains his passion for the field and how he goes about integrating scientific discovery with artistic interpretation. I've always admired Gurche's artwork and followed his career while he was at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. I was sorry to hear in his narrative that the reconstruction he did of "Lucy" for DMNS "melted" because of his choice of sculpting material. I look forward to someday seeing the Smithsonian exhibit on human evolution. I may add something to this narrative when I complete the book.
This book is amazing, written by the artist himself who is both a consummate humanist sculptor/painter and a deep thinker. He shares decades of research, through the marriage of art and science, about our deep past and ends this magnificent volume with his care and concerns for humanity into our not so distant future.
John Gurche has given us a fabulous history of our evolution and the speculation about who we are now, and who we might have been over time as we changed. His genius for bringing science and art together in intricate detail helps us understand the debate among paleoanthropologists that continues to this day. His book is not a quick read, but it's well worth the time for anyone interested in who we are.
This is a unique and very interesting book! We've learned a lot and find ourselves picking it up again and again.
If you are a non scientist and interested in sculpture, meticulous workmanship and creativity as well as anatomy, this is the book for you. It's worth the pictures alone.