I have seen reconstructions (with skin, eyes, muscles etc) of some first humans based on skulls and skeletons. But how can the shape of nose (protruding part), shape of eyelids, shape of eyebrow, hairline be determined base on the skull only?

Examples of these reconstructions:

1 2 3 4


1 Answer 1


Disclaimer: I am an evolutionary geneticist. I know nothing about anatomy and forensic methods....

You should just have a look at wikipedia > forensic facial recognition. There are a number of different facial reconstruction methods, one of which is the so-called Manchester method (see a review of the Machester method in Wilkinson 2010).

In any method of facial reconstruction, there is some part of artistic representation to fill the gap of what we fail to infer from the tissues available. It is typically not so uncommon esp. for recent(-ish) fossils to have remains of soft tissues as well. In absence of such soft tissue, the morphology of the mouth and ears are typically left to artistic interpretation.

  • $\begingroup$ 'artistic interpretation' sounds rather subjective and so says Wikipedia. But that means that the reconstruction does not necessarily represent the original $\endgroup$ Feb 19, 2017 at 9:46
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's what it means. It means that there are things we don't know and we just go with our feeling. $\endgroup$
    – Remi.b
    Feb 19, 2017 at 16:35

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.