Friday, September 19, 2008

National Geographic Neandertal Model

National Geographic Magazine has created a model of a Neandertal woman in time for the October issue. According to the press release:

With a beetle-browed stare, the red-haired, pale-skinned Neanderthal woman gazes from the October cover of National Geographic magazine across the millennia. Affectionately known as "Wilma," the life-size, 5-foot-tall, heavily muscled model is the first ever reconstruction of a Neanderthal using evidence from fossil anatomy and ancient DNA preserved in cannibalized bones.

Wilma was commissioned by National Geographic to illustrate an article in the October 2008 issue, "Last of the Neanderthals," which explores what caused these hominids who dominated Eurasia for more than 200,000 years to vanish in the Ice Age, while our modern human ancestors survived.

A tad sensationalized, of course, but it is nice that they are getting more positive notice. It seems as though people only use the term Neandertal to mean an ignoramus.


  1. Anonymous2:18 PM

    Just a question:
    Is there enough evidence to already suggest what this species looked like?

  2. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Do you agree with the article?
    Is it too early to suggest what neanderthals looked like based on the evidence?

  3. Well, the art of facial reconstruction is a guessing game at best but you can make crude estimations based on facial bone structure. The key features are the brow ridges and the infraorbital plates that swing out from the midline of the face. Some Neandertals had truly huge faces.