Enter the Devolvotron and See Yourself From an Earlier Time

Geek Culture

Ever wondered what your ancestors looked like? No, I don’t mean Great Great Great Great Great Grampa Seth. I mean your waaaay-back ancestors. We’re talking Lucy-era here.

Well wonder no more, fans of evolution. The Open University’s "Devolve Me" site is here to help you visualize your 1.5 million-year-old self. The process couldn’t be simpler. Just grab a digital image of your face (finally, a use for Photo Booth), upload it, arrange a "mask" so that the facial outlines fit over your own face, and watch the magic. Devolve Me, which I prefer to think of as the Devolvotron (or maybe Devolv-O-Matic, or just Devolvo, though that sounds like the antithesis of a Swedish automobile) can show you what you’d look like as the relatively youthful (at 500,000 years) Homo heidelbergensis, or the decidely elderly Australopithecus afarensis, a 3.7 million-year-old inhabitant of the gnarled old family tree. A manual slider lets you view the devolution at your own pace.

After running my own mug through the wringer, I settled on the incongruously blue-eyed heidelbergensis shown at the right. Want to share your prehistoric self with friends and family? Mail the image right from the Devolve Me page and share the laughs as relative after relative comes back with the same knackered zinger: "What? I don’t see any difference."

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