Metal, plastic tube, and air compressor
45 5/16 x 19 11/16 x 59” (115.1 x 50 x 149.9 cm)
In this series Humeau attempts to revive the sound of extinct animals by reconstructing their vocal tracts, soft-tissue organs that are not preserved in the fossil record. Here she presents the voice box of Lucy, a famous Australopithecus afarensis—an early hominid whose fossilized remains were discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. To simulate the sounds Lucy made, in reconstructing her voice box Humeau examined the soft tissues of Lucy’s closest modern relatives, humans and chimpanzees, modifying them to fit the fossils of the extinct animal. The newly constructed parts are connected to an air compressor that simulates breathing and the mechanics of vocalization.