Who made Grandma hairy?

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Family Photos

Lucy as found and with a little imagination Let's suppose that many, many years from now someone were to dig up your great-great-grandma's bones and reconstruct how they thought she looked, covering her from head to toe in a heavy coat of fur.  True, Grandma always wanted a fur coat, but this probably isn't what she had in mind.

Is this science or is this art?

The pictures on this page were taken at the San Diego Museum of Man.  As you look at them, have you ever wondered HOW someone determined from a few bone fragments that this person was covered with fur?  Who is it that decides "Make it more ape-like" when we have no tissue samples?  Do we really know from the evidence found that this is anything even close to how this person really looked?

As a young adult, was she perpetually hunched over in an apelike pose or might she have stood just as erect as people do today?  Was her nose really so broad and flattened?  Did she really have fur?  Did she have much body hair at all?  How much of what we're shown is scientific truth and how much is just creative expression being exercised to support a particular belief system or viewpoint?

Would it have been just as scientific and rational to have reconstructed her with skin and hair features more like those of your own grandmother?  What might that presentation of the evidence do to your concepts and beliefs about our origins?

Do such presentations affect our beliefs?

Is it science that leads us to our conclusions in this area of study or do our preconceptions lead us to our science?  What if Lucy looked more like an ape yet.  What if she looked far more human.

What if we just taught what we know rather than what we're taught we're supposed to believe?

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