MEanderthaler iPhone App – Morphing technology brings out the Caveman in you

Who's who in the Heritage Key cave?We all know we have a bit of Neanderthal in us, but how would you look if you were to up that amount?A new application for iPhone and Android allows you to create a pretty prehistoric, personalised mug shot, by morphing your face into that of an early human. Using ‘MEanderthal’, within seconds (watch the video here), you get to see what you would have looked like, if you lived thousands of years ago and ended up on the wrong ‘branch’ of evolution.

The app, released by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, is a mobile edition of the very popular ‘morphing station’ at the Smithsonian thatcreates the same facial transformation.

For the ‘caveman morphs’ created, the ‘MEanderthal’ app relies on what we’ve learned about the appearance of our extinct relatives through reconstructions of their skulls and general physique. Neanderthal faces tend to have much bigger noses. Big noses were good for humidifying and warming glacial, ice age air, Briana Pobiner, a palaeoanthropologist at the Smithsonian told Live Science.

Quick video demo of the morphing into caveman

Jon *cough* volunteered *cough* to demonstrate how a ‘modern day human’ face gets morphed into that of an early human. The app ‘dissolves’ the photo into a portrait of the species chosen (we opted for ‘Heidelberg Man’ for Jon) and keeps the areas around the eyes on mouth.

Using MEanderthal on iPhone is quite simple. You take a nice portrait shot of your face (we advise against a white wall, frontal lighting) which you then upload and line up with markers for the eyes, nose and mouth. Then select the human species you’d like to ‘de-evolve’ into:

  • Homo neanderthalensis (male and female) – Modelled respectively by Prad and Meral
  • Homo floresiensis (female) – Modelled by Rebecca and Ann
  • Homo heidelbergensis (male) – Modelled by Sean

You can then email the results (with some extra information on your ‘species’) to yourself or friends, or share them on Facebook for your friends to comment upon.

Don’t be embarrassed, download the free application – andgive morphing yourself backwards in time a try! (If you’re non-indigenous African, you could have 1-4% Neanderthal DNA, anyway.)

Just don’t hesistate !;)