Observing Ancient Humans With 3D Scanning

Learning about the past helps us understand the present better

We have been studying ancient humans for quite some time; believe it or not, our species, what we see when we look at each other now, is relatively young. A lot can be learned from our history, and observing how other species lived can help us understand where we came from and who we are. A study has been done using 3D laser scanning devices that allowed researchers to study and observe neanderthals.

In this study, researchers compared five neanderthal bodies to each other and also observed modern day humans. The goal was to see how the bones connected to the thumb moved. This could give them insight into how they may have used tools and other aspects of how neanderthals lived. This study would also tell them more about why one species outlived the other.

“We specifically looked at the shape covariation between the trapezium — a wrist bone at the base of your thumb — and [the] proximal end of the first metacarpal — the first bone in your thumb that joins the wrist — in Neanderthals in comparison to early and recent humans,” Ameline Bardo, a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Kent.

Why is it important to study other humans

Many of us wonder why it is so essential to study other humans. The truth is learning about our past helps us understand the present better. Studying this area has never been easy. It has required hours of observing and analyzing. This has all been made easier with 3D laser scanning; it has allowed us to gain great insight that we can understand practically.

Why are thumbs important

Believe it or not, thumbs are crucial to how we move and do things. Your thumb is separated from all other fingers, and it allows you to hold and grasp things. Learning about thumbs on ancient humans allows us to understand how they may have made tools or, more importantly, why. If they cannot grasp things properly, this may indicate why they could not outlive modern humans.

Using 3D laser scanning devices, researchers observed every bone connected to the thumb and, in a partnering system, learn how it may have moved. 3D laser scanning is some of the most advanced technology in the world and is perfect for studying.

Understanding 3D laser scanning

3D laser scanning allows teams to gather more insight much faster than they have ever been able to do. How? It takes rapid pictures of an object and, at the same time, uses lasers to gather information from an item. It picks up the smallest detail that may go missed by us. This makes it the best tool for analyzing historic objects without harming them.

Final thoughts

This research doesn’t prove that one species was better than the other. In fact, neanderthals were smart in a unique way that is different from how we are. They used tools and adapted to use those tools, and their bones show that. There could be many reasons we outlived our other humans, and with the help of 3D laser scanning, we may end up finding the answers.

Keep reading: more articles about 3D scanning

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