Via Steve Churchill comes the news that 3D models of major specimens of the newly-named Homo naledi are available on MorphoSource.
I picked the first metacarpal, U.W. 101-1321, because as I read through the Berger et al. paper on the anatomy and morphology of H. naledi, the metacarpals really struck me -- they're rather unique among hominins but very similar across the members of this species.
I downloaded the model as an .STL file, ran it through MakerWare to generate an .x3g file, and then printed it using my trusty old MakerBot. It took 20 minutes, tops.
Then I gave the model to a grad student who was heading in to teach the undergraduate lab in biological anthropology. Bam! Species-announcement-to-teaching-cast in under 12 hours.
This is a really fantastic resource, and even if you don't have a 3D printer, you should check out the great models and play around with them.
|Awww, I love my little H. naledi thumb bone! So tiny, yet so muscular!|