Duplicated Treasures of Prehistoric Times
Human biologists from the University of Vienna developed a new method for producing faithful copies of fossil skull finds. The duplicates allow the find to be examined without damaging the original. In addition, the method allows missing parts of the skull to be reconstructed in the case of incomplete finds. The method simplifies the analysis of human evolution. Finds of human fossils are rare and therefore valuable. The discovery of a complete skull from prehistoric times is all the more interesting for paleoanthropologists: its internal structure allows conclusions to be drawn about the shape and size of the brain. To do this, however, the find had to be opened: "We remove the cap to study the inner workings," says Gerhard Weber from the Institute for Human Biology at the University of Vienna. A new high-tech procedure now spares the researchers this intervention: in the first step, physicians produce a computer tomography of the object. Weber describes: "It provides a lifelike representation of the entire object, including its cavities." The information obtained serves as the database for a process in the field of industrial design, stereolithography "A laser hardens liquid resin layer by layer to form a three-dimensional, transparent model." four to six thousand marks.
The anthropologists have now produced three such models, with templates from Greece, Zimbabwe and France, and around 200.000 to 400,000 years "Image" are. Until now, researchers had assumed that all three skulls belonged to the same species - Homo heidelbergensis. "The analysis of the inner skull structure, however, revealed clear differences," explains Weber. For example, the French find had a larger frontal brain than its counterparts. The structure and size of the frontal sinuses also differed. The Viennese experts now assume that these are different species. alt="