Control experiments

Striving to elaborate a method of facial reconstruction from crania of unknown persons guaranteeing maximal resemblance, Gerasimov deemed it necessary to run a number of control experiments.

In 1912, a group of the Papuans was brought to Moscow from New Guinea. One of them had contracted tuberculosis and eventually died. His skull, owned by Moscow University Museum of Anthropology was handed over to Gerasimov for a control test of facial reconstruction. In two hours, in the presence of commission members, he reconstructed a half of the face. Its comparison with the photograph of the actual person (details such as hairdo, beard, and ornaments disregarded) reveals a marked similarity, which is especially striking in profile view.

Control test of facial reconstruction of a Papuan (Moscow University, 1938)


Mikhail Gerasimov’s Career
Mikhail Gerasimov as an Archaeologist
Reconstruction of the Face from the Cranium
The Predecessors
Elaboration of the method
Correlation between soft tissues and bone base
Reconstructing facial features
Facial asymmetry
Control experiments
Stages in the reconstruction process
Fields of application
Further development of the method
“Sinanthropus” (Member of the Species Homo Erectus)
Homo Neanderthalensis (Neanderthal man)
Neanderthal Child from Teshik-Tash
People of the Upper Paleolithic
People of the Mesolithic
People of the Early Iron Age
Drawings by M.M. Gerasimov