A new gallery focussing on human evolution and the human body opened at the Science Museum in Brussels on Wednesday. Covering 840m2, 3 rooms describe 7 million years of human evolution with no taboo, and explain the different stages in the life of modern man and how he has adapted. Skeletons and real organs as well as high-tech methods such as 3-D printing help better visualise how complex the human machine is. Elke Sleurs, secretary of state for science policies, inaugurated the “Human Department”, a new permanent exhibition unique in Europe as it shows, amongst other things, 15 life size hominids. E.Sleurs was pleased that the new space was dedicated to humans and their bodies. “This is an important concept both for education and for health,” she said. “It is an excellent tool to educate school children and students. The cycle of life is explained and vividly illustrated.”
The first room is dedicated to 25 different species of hominids throughout human evolution. Life-size wooden statues created through 3-D printing, including Lucy and the man of Spy, allow visitors to measure themselves against the reproductions. Then they go to the second room which deals with modern man, Homo sapiens. Adaptations to his skeleton, brain, teeth and hands are entertainingly introduced.
The final room explores the human body, without any taboo, throughout a normal lifespan, from fertilisation to old age, via birth and adolescence. For the first time, foetuses in formaldehyde from the museum collection will be exhibited. Real human organs are also presented as plastified models, liquids being replaced with plastic.
Visiting the gallery takes approximately 2 hours and it is open to the general public, although it is particularly suited to visitors aged 10 up.