Homo erectus "Peking Man" skull.
300,000 to 600,000 YA. The Homo erectus skull "Peking Man" is also known as Pithecanthropus pekinensis (Sinanthropus). The reproduction offered here was recreated by Ian Tattersall and Gary J. Sawyer using original casts when possible. Their reproduction clearly indicates the areas that were sculpted and which were based on original fragments. The dark colors represent the areas that were created using casts from original material (from multiple specimens). Licensed exclusively to Bone Clones, we are grateful to Tattersall and Sawyer for permitting us to cast this remarkable piece.
The following text was provided by Sawyer:
This 1995 reconstruction of Zhoukoudian (Choukoutien) Homo erectus was selected from the comprehensive first generation casts housed at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). These excellent, highly detailed casts were prepared by Dr. Franz Weidenreich and his colleagues just prior to the tragic loss of the original fossils during WWII. These casts, the reference set of which were officially presented to the AMNH in 1941, are all that remains of the original Zhoukoudian fossil humans.
Since Weidenreich had previously constructed a female skull from fragmented parts, the interest of Tattersall and Sawyer was to create a male skull, for which more elements were actually available. To do so, all skull elements were based on presumed male specimens as previously determined by Dr. Weidenreich.
The basic reconstruction began with the cranial vault from male skull XII because it preserves the proximal halves of both nasal bones and most of the lateral margin of the left orbit, including the superior part of the malar (zygomatic) bone. To these key structures were added the inferior portion of a left malar, the frontal process of a left maxilla, another portion of a left maxilla and two substantial portions of the right and left sides of the mandible. The mandible halves are from the same individual, while the cranial elements are from an assortment of different individuals.
This assemblage of facial and cranial parts-the former mostly from the left side-produced a near complete continuity of facial elements from top to bottom and side to side of the skull. The rebuilt left side of the face was then mirror-imaged to create the missing right side. Casts of isolated teeth from Zhoukoudian served as models for sculpting missing teeth.
For a comprehensive and detailed description of this reconstruction see: Tattersall, I & Sawyer, G. J. (1996). The skull of "Sinathropus" from Zhoukoudian, China: a new reconstruction. Journal of Human Evolution, 31, 311-314.