Last Saturday 7 September saw the Human Evolution Festival take place at World Museum Liverpool. This was a family event to celebrate the opening of the new Human Evolution Gallery. Casts of the reconstructed skull Homo naledi are on show in the new gallery. This recently discovered new human species will join some of the most important casts from the Museum’s unique collection, alongside the latest research evidence from palaeoanthropologists and archaeologists at Liverpool John Moores University.
Spanning seven million years of evolution, highlights include the skeleton of the Turkana Boy, now surrounded by a reconstruction of the environment in which he lived and a replica 'Peking Man' skull, which represents some of the oldest evidence of human habitation in China. They are accompanied by original fossil material from Kent's Cavern.
Professor Joel Irish, research leader in anthropology at Liverpool John Moores University says: 'Over the past decade, we and our colleagues have discovered many amazing things about how humans evolved. The gallery features real fossils, teeth and jawbones, casts of skulls and skeletons and the stone tools that reveal clues on how humans interacted with their surroundings. Also displayed are animal fossils that shared the same environments as different human species.'
Prof Irish adds: 'Only a few years back I was involved in the description of a new ancient relative of ours that was discovered in the Rising Star Cave in South Africa, adding a new branch to our family tree. Ground-breaking discoveries such as these show just how anthropology research is crucial for understanding our place in the natural world.'
The gallery explores what a hominin is, the complex family tree of humans, the lifestyles of some of the fossil hominins and explore what it means to be human. We asked some famous people what they thought it means to be human and we hope you will share your quote with us too.