Yesterday evening I taught my third lesson of this term in our course Human Evolution. I really enjoy teaching this course, because so much happens in this field. Almost each year new finds are published and these either help to better grasp our long history or make us even more confused! The large number of students, who have attended our courses and who are attending this term’s course, and their many questions shows how extremely interesting the topic is.
Yesterday was a bit special, because we had finally received all the ape and hominid skull reconstructions we had ordered months ago. Unpacking the boxes and carefully removing the skulls from the wrappings felt like Christmas Eve. Here was Tomaï, and there was Lucy, and the Taung child, next came a Paranthropus, then the first Homo habilis skull that had been discovered, and the different Homo erectus from Dmanisi and China. Being able to look at the ‘real’ skulls as opposed to just seeing them as pictures was great. How small some are, and how large others are, how much is reconstructed and how much is real.
It was so much more instructive to show the skulls in the classroom and to point out all the differences and similarities between them. I am sure the students really enjoyed this too. And even better is that we now have a small exhibition in our department of all the skulls we have bought!