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Research Title:

Reconstruction of Fossil Crania Based on Three-Dimensional Surface Modeling Techniques

Research Organization:

Team Leader
  • Naomichi Ogihara, Associate Professor, Biomechanics,
    Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University
  • Osamu Kondo, Associate Professor,
    Physical Anthropology, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo
  • Hiromasa Suzuki, Professor,
    Shape Modeling Engineering, Fossil Reconstruction Technology, Graduate School of Engineering, Department of Precision Engineering, The University of Tokyo
  • Daisuke Kubo, Junior Assistant Professor,
    Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Tsukuba
  • Masaki Moriguchi, Assistant Professor,
    Fossil Reconstruction Technology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Chuo University
  • Takashi Michikawa, Assistant Professor,
    Fine Digital Engineering, Center for Environmental Innovation Design for Sustainability, Osaka University
  • Hajime Ishida, Professor,
    Anthropology, Faculty of Medicine , University of the Ryukyus
  • Hitoshi Fukase, Assistant Professor,
    Faculty of Medicine, Hokkaido University
Overseas Collaborators
  • Christoph P.E. Zollikofer, Professor,
    Computer-Assisted Paleoanthropology, Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Marcia Ponce de Leon, Lecturer,
    Computer-Assisted Paleoanthropology, Anthropological Institute and Museum, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Emiliano Bruner, Research Group Leader,
    Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana, Spain
Invited Researchers
  • Yasushi Kobayashi, Professor,
    Division of Medicine, National Defense Medical College

Research Objectives

Developing engineering methods to aid in the reconstruction of the original antemortem appearance of unearthed fossil cranial fragments is important for objective, precise and reproducible reconstruction of fossil crania. This research sub-project aims to develop a computer-assisted system for the reconstruction of fossil crania based on a three-dimensional surface modeling technique. Specifically, we will work to create software to aid in the assembly of isolated cranial fragments into their original anatomical positions, to aid in the correction of plastic deformation, and to compensate for missing parts of unearthed fossil crania. We will then apply this assistive system to the virtual reconstruction of Neanderthal and early modern human fossil crania. We will investigate the morphology of the original and virtual versions of the crania and endocasts, generating new lines of discussion for Hominid brain evolution.

Research Methods

(1) We will develop computerized methods to aid the reassembly of fossil fragments, the elimination of plastic deformation, and compensation of missing parts based on surface modeling technique, for new reconstructions of some Neanderthal and early modern human fossil crania.

(2) We will evaluate the validity and limitations of the proposed reconstruction methods by means of inverse transformation (reconstruction) of virtually fragmented/deformed models of modern human crania.

(3) We will provide the reconstruction results to, and receive functional brain imaging data from Project C02 for the collaborative analysis of possible anatomical and functional differences between the brains of the Neanderthals and early modern humans.

Research Project on Replacement of Neanderthals by Modern Humans: Testing Evolutionary Models of Learning
Supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, ports, Science & Technology Japan
Project Office: Kouchi University of Technology,CIC Tokyo 302/ 3-3-6 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Zip:108-0023;
TEL: +81-(0)3-5440-9039 FAX: +81-(0)3-5440-9119 Contact: koutaigeki@gmail.com;
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