Pretend-Excavating Australopithecus afarensis, Part 2

February 10th, 2016

A little while ago, I received a present that I secretly wanted: an excavation and model kit of Australopithecus afarensis. After a short break to rest the fingers, the next field season continued the amazing discoveries of the first. One surprise from last time was the existence of a hair in the gypsum matrix. Further excavation revealed more hair in separate locations.

{ Exposed hair is circled for your convenience. }

{ Exposed hair is circled for your convenience. }

Wait…

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Could this be one giant hair? Interested scholars quickly formed into single-hair and multi-hair camps with no room for a middle ground. Revealing more and more of the hair(s) showed that it led into one of the foot impressions that was being preserved. With a heavy heart, I broke through the impression to see where the hair went. The single-hair camp won out in the end as it became evident that we are dealing with one rather long piece.

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{ Click to enlarge to view hair detail. }

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{ Click to enlarge to view hair detail. }

From there the project got a bit old so excavation proceeded more quickly. While the documentation showed that the skull had to be assembled from three pieces, it was found whole. While convenient, the skull did have to be partially separated into its constituent parts in order fit it to the vertebral column.

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A wash in the sink removed the bulk of the gypsum matrix from the skeletal remains. The parts easily fit together into a complete skeleton with little effort. Pegs on the feet went into the display stand. (I tossed the hair: it’s gross). One surprise was that the shoulder and hip joints were rotatable and the skull was very possible due to the ball joint.

{ A. afarensis along with some other prized possessions. }

{ A. afarensis along with some other prized possessions. }

As you can tell, this model kit was a lot of fun to excavate and produced a good looking model for the price. I wouldn’t be opposed to checking out more of the Geoworld line, though I may speed up the excavation in the future.


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