We can make inferences of muscle and skin from our study of anatomy, the same way that forensic scientists reconstruct bodies to help identify victims. This is a very well developed science, particularly related to hominids.
It starts with reconstruction of the skeleton, articulated the way the bones fit together. In this case we have not just Lucy, but Little Foot and the First Family and other fossils of Australopithecus africanus
That gives us a composite skeleton:
The brown areas represent actual fossil elements, the white are from mirroring and extrapolating missing elements from knowledge of other fossils (the ribs and the toes and the finger tips).
Which we can place between a human skeleton and a chimpanzee skeleton for comparison. Note the posture of the chimpanzee is limited by the articulation of the bones, with bent knees and bend at the waist, and bent neck pushing the head forward (the spin connects further back on the head rather than under it as in hominids).
Then the skeleton is "fleshed out" with thicknesses for muscles and skin and organs typical of apes (which includes humans).
You never really finish a model like this one, anatomy is a complex, endless subject and you could spend a lifetime trying to illustrate all of the systems and structures that make up the human body. Inevitably, you will make mistakes so it’s important to constantly revise your model and strive to make the anatomy as accurate as you can.
Finally the skin, hair, eyes are extrapolated from known living apes (including humans).
Can we really draw this conclusion???
Conclusion? It's a hypothetical reconstruction. For display in a museum, not for scientific study.
Is the skin color and the amount of hair, eyes, etc accurate? No, nor is it claimed to be.
But it is as accurate as we can currently deduct from the evidence -- the actual scientific evidence of the fossil bones.
Do you understand that the science works from the bones not the reconstructions in museums?
And I see a striking similarity with renaissance art the way its presented. But as you said it's a hypothetical reconstruction where the finer details like hair amount, etc are an artists impression.
Make that an educated, evidence informed rendition and I'll agree. It's a bit more than someone making a pretty picture.
Correct me if I'm wrong here. As the population grew in Africa about 100,000ya groups migrated, evolving (on a small scale of physical features) into different races around the world. (Depending on your definition of race and how broadly you define them) Caucasians in Europe, the Indian sub continent, into east Asia where they crossed the Bering strait into the Americas. Two other races emerged from Asia. The Polynesians and Aboriginals.
Make that 200,000 years ago, and then add in some localized interbreeding with Neanderthals and Homo erectus as the various tribes dispersed across open (for hominids) ecological challenges and I would agree. Human ancestry is somewhat 'braided' rather than strict lineal descent, and there was some interbreeding before species became settled.
These following quotes are from a top ToE scientist in his book "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (2009)"
Page 8: " Evolution is a fact. Beyond reasonable doubt, beyond serious doubt, beyond sane, informed, intelligent doubt, beyond doubt evolution is a fact. ..."
I like to distinguish between the process of evolution and the theory of evolution.
(1) The process of evolution involves changes in the composition of hereditary traits, and changes to the frequency of their distributions within breeding populations from generation to generation, in response to ecological challenges and opportunities for growth, development, survival and reproductive success in changing or different habitats.
Mutations of hereditary traits have been observed to occur, and thus this aspect of evolution is an observed, known objective fact, rather than an untested hypothesis.
Different mixing of existing hereditary traits (ie Mendelian inheritance patterns) have been observed to occur, and thus this aspect of evolution is an observed, known objective fact, rather than an untested hypothesis.
Natural selection has been observed to occur, along with the observed alteration in the distribution of hereditary traits within breeding populations, and thus this aspect of evolution is an observed, known objective fact, and not an untested hypothesis
Neutral drift has been observed to occur, along with the observed alteration in the distribution of hereditary traits within breeding populations, and thus this aspect of evolution is an observed, known objective fact, and not an untested hypothesis.
Thus many known and observed processes of evolution are observed, known objective empirical facts, and not untested hypothesies.
No other process has ever been observed changing hereditary traits or creating new species without these mechanisms. None.
If we look at the continued effects of evolution over many generations, the accumulation of changes from generation to generation may become sufficient for individuals to develop combinations of traits that are observably different from the ancestral parent population.
(2) The process of lineal change within species is sometimes called phyletic speciation, or anagenesis.
This is also sometimes called arbitrary speciation in that the place to draw the line between linearly evolved genealogical populations is subjective, and because the definition of species in general is tentative and sometimes arbitrary.
If anagenesis was all that occurred, then all life would be one species, readily sharing DNA via horizontal transfer (asexual) and interbreeding (sexual) and various combinations. This is not the case, however, because there is a second process that results in multiple species and increases the diversity of life.
(3) The process of divergent speciation, or cladogenesis, involves the division of a parent population into two or more reproductively isolated daughter populations, which then are free to (micro) evolve independently of each other.
The reduction or loss of interbreeding (gene flow, sharing of mutations) between the sub-populations results in different evolutionary responses within the separated sub-populations, each then responds independently to their different ecological challenges and opportunities, and this leads to divergence of hereditary traits between the subpopulations and the frequency of their distributions within the sub-populations.
The process of anagenesis, with the accumulation of changes over many generations, is an observed, known objective fact, and not an untested hypothesis.
The process of cladogenesis, with the subsequent formation of a branching nested genealogy of descent from common ancestor populations is an observed, known objective fact, and not an untested hypothesis.
This means that the basic processes of "macroevolution" are observed, known objective facts, and not untested hypothesies, even if major groups of species are not observed forming (which would take many many generations).
(4) The Theory of Evolution (ToE), stated in simple terms, is that the process of anagenesis, and the process of cladogenesis, are sufficient to explain the diversity of life as we know it, from the fossil record, from the genetic record, from the historic record, and from everyday record of the life we observe in the world all around us.
This theory is tested by experiments and field observations carried out as part of the science of evolution.
The theory is not fact (no theory is), but it is heavily supported my evidence and the testing of predicted outcomes. As a result we can have high confidence that it will continue to meet predictable expectations, that it will continue to explain evidence and inform choices based on the theory being valid.
It is highly unlikely that any new discovery could overturn the entire theory. A new and different mechanism may be found, but then, as a natural process, it would be incorporated into a slightly modified version of the theory. This is what has been happening for the last 150 years as new mechanisms are discovered or detailed. Genetic Drift for instance, was not in the original theory (nor was any of the genetic processes).
Add to this the deliberate evolutionary frauds that have been presented to the mainstream as fact. Pitdown man. Nebraska man. Java man. U guys heard of these ye? A willingness and drive to fabricate evidence. That's extreme.
Who uncovered the frauds and misrepresentations? Scientists or laymen? Who published the "news" (including pictures) about the frauds? Scientists or laymen?