To the left is a typical legacy news media reconstruction. David DeWitt at Liberty University offers a digital manipulation with some notes: (Here, if you can’t see it. We had trouble with that last week, so we have republished the story with some technical glitches, we hope, ironed out.)
The skull as presented in the news websites has some significant issues that suggests that the facial reconstruction is seriously off.
1. When you look at a side view of an ape as well as a human skull, the jaw lines up essentially parallel with the ground. This one is on about a 15% angle and that doesn’t account for the upper teeth. I put our Ardipithecus jaw under our 1470 skull and it creates a similar appearing skull. This is unlike every other ape and hominid skill that we have including Neanderthal, Australopithecine, Homo erectus, gorilla, orangutan, chimpanzee… This is evidence that the maxilla is not reconstructed properly.
2. The facial angle in the reconstruction is determined by a tiny bone on part of the left side of the nose. This piece doesn’t exactly fit right when you examine models of the skull like the one we have. A slight pivot here and the entire maxilla angles forward. If the face is sloped rather than flat, it will actually come out close to right. If you look at the bottom of the 1470 models (which almost no one can unless you have a model) you can see that the pieces that connect the maxilla to the rest of the skull are missing so it is not clear what the angle is supposed to be.
3. The jaw is seriously robust and would require major muscles to attach. This makes sense considering the large zygomatic arch and pinched fore skull. But this is all the more reason that the jaw should be parallel to the ground rather than significantly angled.
Skull 1470, it turns out, has a multiple personality disorder, Part II Here’s Part I.
(Earlier, many people could not see the photos, please write in to say if you cannot do so now. We think we have fixed the problem, but they were never invisible to us, so ….)
DeWitt had earlier offered these notes:
This evening I worked on a crude digital manipulation of the image that was shown on the news websites. Importantly, the skull and jaw are from two separate individuals. That has to be kept in mind.
To obtain the second image, I rotated the jaw and parts of the maxilla to align them properly with the skull. The muscle that allows the jaw to close passes under the cheek bone and attaches across the skull. This muscle significantly affects the shape of the face. Stronger muscles make the face shorter while weaker muscles will make the face longer. The difference occurs because bone is continuously remodeled and affected by forces including that of the muscles.
I am making this assessment based on the news image and a model of 1470 from Bone Clones.