Artist John Gurche’s new book, Shaping Humanity, focuses on his work for the Smithsonian’s new Hall of Human Origins. The fossil record has shown that human evolution has not been a process where all of the features we consider human evolved slowly together in tandem. Instead, some of these features evolved early in human history and some quite late. This means that each of our ancestors has its own story to tell about what it added to the human picture. Making sculpture that reflected the adaptive milieu of each species of human ancestor was Gurche’s task, and he details the discussions, backroom debates and stop-the-presses moments in the creation of each of 15 sculptures for the new hall in his book.