We Found a 3D Zinjanthropus!

By on November 7th, 2013 in models


There are a great many exhibits among the booths at this year’s 3D Printshow in London, but one caught our eye. In spite of perhaps the least adorned booth in the entire hall, African Fossils provides something we’ve been seeking for quite some time: 3D models of our ancient ancestors. 
We’ve searched high and low looking for 3D models of Australopithecus, Zinjanthropus, Homo Erectus and other prehistoric artifacts, but could never find a good source. Until today when we had a discussion with Samira Leakey (yes, THAT Leakey family). 
Ms. Leakey works on the African Fossils project, an effort to bring the discoveries of our ancestors to the world. Their site provides an interactive 3D lab, where one can visually browse specimens gathered from field research. You can, for example, select the Paranthropus boisei and inspect it in 360 degrees. 
But here’s the part we’re most interested in: each fossil also includes a “Download” button. You can obtain a .OBJ format 3D model of all the specimens. These, of course, can easily be converted into STL format with a free tool such as Meshlab, making them suitable for 3D printing. 
Meet your ancestors, and print them. 

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!