This is a unique and rich exhibition on the evolution of the human race, whose evolutionary history is represented through several life-size replicas of hominids, thus covering a period ranging from 23 million years ago, the time of Proconsul africanus, to the present day. The exhibition shows a large number of our ancestors in dynamic positions: Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus – Pliocene – 4.4 million years ago), Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis – Pliocene – 3.9-2.9 million years ago), the Homo habilis (Lower Paleolithic– 2.8-1.5 million years ago), the Homo ergaster (1.6 million years ago), the Homo neanderthalensis (Pleistocene – 40,000 years ago), the Homo sapiens (from 200,000 years ago to present), and more. The exhibition is further enriched by a series of extraordinary skull replicas, the comparison of which can provide an idea of the different types of features our ancestors had. It is possible to see how, over time, the posture, diet and social behaviour of our species have evolved. Of extraordinary importance is the replica of the (albeit partial) skeleton of “Lucy” (Australopithecus afarensis), which shows her anatomical structure as it must had been. The skeleton was found in the Ethiopian desert in 1973. It belongs to an adult female 1.07m in height and weighing about 28 kg. The finding has strongly influenced theories and studies about the origins of our species.
The replicas of our relative, the Neanderthal man are also of notable interest; he lived in Europe and around the Mediterranean basin before the Homo Sapiens until 40,000 years ago. The Neanderthals were strong and sturdy, well suited to living in Europe during the Ice Age, accustomed to very low temperatures and extreme climate conditions. The collection also shows several utensils made of flint, bones and earth.
This exhibition is considered of high educational, scientific and artistic value and it can include the faithful, life-size replica of Charles Darwin, sitting at his desk and dressed in vintage clothing. The faithful replicas of hominids are portrayed in different scenes of everyday life, thanks to sets which show them around some temporary shelters, where they used to gather in groups of small clans or families.
It is possible to re-create sets or dioramas with hunting scenes.