Hominin Hordes

The image title is a play on the anthropological term "horde," which is defined as "a loosely knit small social group typically consisting of approximately five families." In the picture, the hominin hordes encircle 6 modern ape skulls and emphasize the broad mosaic of traits that can be seen in more human-like and in more ape-like hominin fossils.

Reproductions representing the following taxa/fossils are included in the photograph.
Clockwise outer ring from upper-left (hominins):
Homo neanderthalens La Ferrassie
Australopithecus afarensis
Homo erectus Dmanisi #5
Homo floresiensis
Homo erectus Sangiran
Homo sapiens Cro-magnon
Homo heidelbergensis Kabwe
Homo erectus”Peking Man
Homo neanderthalensis La-Chappel-aux-Saintes
Australopithecus africanus Mrs. Ples
Paranthropus boisei

Clockwise inner ring from upper-left (modern apes)
Gorilla gorilla (juvenile)
Gorilla gorilla (adult male)
Orangutan (adult female)
Orangutan (juvenile)
Chimpanzee (juvenile)
Gorilla gorilla (adult female)

A head-on composite of 17 ape and hominin cranium reproductions was needed for teaching. At the core of the image are 6 modern apes (orangutan, gorilla, chimpanzee) which are surrounded on all sides by various hominins. When I realized that the geometry of the protruding zygomatic arches and inward curves of jawlines and upward sloping temples enabled skulls to nestle closely against one another like puzzle pieces, I did not attempt to correct for scale. Thus, the largest male silverback gorilla with pronounced sagittal crest and smallest "Hobbit man" ”Homo floresiensis skulls in the group are depicted in the image as very close in size to one another, even though there is close to a 2X size difference between them. This "averaging" of size makes the series of images illustrative in emphasis rather than quantitative for biometric comparisons. Uniform size and careful layer placement allowed me to create interesting vertical and diagonal lines and make an attractive design. The original digital file is 12,000 pixels square, which would make a 32" print size possible (at 300dpi+), even before using up-scaling software. A new science teaching wing is due to be completed on campus within a year, so a large print of this image will be placed prominently to encourage student interest in paleoanthropology and primate anatomy. Individual images in the composite are formally registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

Nikon macro lens and wireless monolights with softbox modifiers; Images were taken against black backdrop and with post-production to fine tune the negative space.