Meet Zinj, a replica of a 1.75 million-year old Paranthropus boisei skull, an early hominid species. The original was first discovered by Mary and Louis Leakey in Tanzania in 1959. Since then, a number of casts of the skull have been made for universities around the world, one of which now resides in the University of Alberta’s fossil hominid cast collection.

“It makes a real difference to actually be able to pick up something, hold onto it, and see it, rather than just look at a picture.”

— Pamela Willoughby, Chair of the Department of Anthropology

The collection features replicas of fossilized skulls and bones from ancient primates and early human ancestors. While the collection is especially useful for anthropology students, anyone can access the collection, including members of the public.

Zinj was the first fossil discovered of its species and also the first of a hominid to be found in East Africa, which is now an important region for researching early hominid evolution. This hominid may even have been the first to use tools.

Image courtesy of Matt Gwozd
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