Did Neandertals breakdance?


About the research

Imagine if Neandertals were still alive. Would we be able to host breakdance competitions with Neandertals showing of their skills to, say, Grandmaster Flash's beats? That is -with a tiny bit of imagination- what Tara Chapman and her colleagues at the Royal Belgian institute of Natural Sciences and the Université Libre de Bruxelles are looking into. They virtually (re)construct skeletons of Neandertals and fuse them to movement of modern human to find out how they could have moved about.

Tara Chapman

Tara Chapman (UK) is an Anthropologist and Biomedical Scientist working at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS). She also works as a Scientific Collaborator for the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). In her PhD she looked at how modern clinical technology could be used to reconstruct extinct fossil hominids and analyse potential locomotion. Together with her colleagues at RBINS and ULB she virtually reconstructed a complete Neandertal skeleton based on the fossil remains of the Neandertal Spy II skeleton to analyse how this skeleton may have walked. For her work on the reconstruction of the Spy II Neandertal, Tara has featured in numerous press publications and made TV appearances in documentaries for the BBC, Canvas and France 5. The virtual reconstructed Spy II Neandertal skeleton will be made available to the broader public in late 2019.

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