Elisabeth Daynès must have one of the greatest jobs around. She’s a palaeoartist who uses clay and silicone to make models of our ancestors. She initially wanted to make masks for theatre but ‘became interested in human evolution over her 20 year career’ and even recreated Lucy, the ‘famed Australopithecus afarensis specimen that lived between three million and two million years ago’.
How are the models made? First Daynès and her team examine the skull of a specimen to mark out distinctive features. Then she and her team make computer models of the skulls, ‘using 18 data points on the bone, which gives her an idea of muscles, the shape of a hominid’s nose, forehead and chin’. Then clay is used across a cast taken from a skull. After the clay sculpture is complete, a silicone cast is made where all those minute facial details come to life.
Via The Daily Mail