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December 11, 1980 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-11

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, December 11, 1980-Page 3
Class replicates skulls

In the depths of Angell Hall students
labor with plaster and latex attempting
to create the perfect skull.
Miembers of the Biological An-
thropology 451 class spend many hours
in that basement workroom making
plaster casts of skulls and other bones
from ancestors of apes and man that
lived more than 25 million years ago.
AND THOUGH they say the work can
be monotonous at times, anthropology
students say the non-traditional course
is fun and offers an excellent oppor-
tunity for students to concentrate on
areas of particular interest.
There are no exams and no required
papers for the course. Instead, students
must turn in three plaster molds per
credit hour per week and are graded on
the quality of their molds.
Students learn how to pour the plaster
in a latex mold, how to rotate the mold
while it is setting to prevent air bub-
bles, and how to paint the finished

product so it looks just like the original
bone which may have been found in an
African excavation site.
WHEN COMPLETED, the student-
made skulls are sent off to universities,
museums, and schools all over the
world. They serve as teaching aids and
help people learn about human
evolution by actually touching and
holding accurate replicas of fossils.
The University gives its casts free to
those who request them. "There is a
great cast-trading system," explains
the course's teaching assistant Darcy
Evon. The University often trades
models of its casts for others and has
built up one of the largest cast collec-
tions in the world.
The skulls make unique conversation
pieces and gifts, and one of the fringe
benefits of the course is that the studen-
ts may keep as many casts as they like
- providing the casts are used in an
aesthetically-pleasing manner, said
Evon. She recalled one unfortunate

student who was severely reprimanded
when it was discovered that he was
making plaster panda skulls, painting.
them maize and blue and selling them
at football games.
THE MOLDS the students use to
make plaster casts are made of latex.
The molds are not made from original
skulls, which remain in museums in
Europe and Africa. Instead, the molds
are made from latex molded around a
resin cast.
These resin casts are usually made at
the museum where the original is kept.
The casts can cost up to $600 apiece, but
unless they are, copyrighted, the
University is free to make as many
copies as it wishes.
Making a good cast is an art, and
students often go through a lot of
plaster before they learn the technique.
A good craftsperson rotates the mold
slowly to prevent air bubbles during the
10 to 15 minutes it takes for the plaster
to set.

THE ROOM where the painting is
done is separate from the rest- of the
operation so ,that the plaster powder
doesn't mess up the paint job. Casts are
first dipped in a large tub of tea until
they are dyed an ecru - or tannish -
color. Then special areas are painted to
resemble the original skull. Areas on
the skull that are reconstructed on the
original are painted a dark brown on the
Students may elect the course for
one to three credits per semester and
can take up to a total of six credits.
There are no prerequisites, but many
are anthropology students who are
challenged by the opportpnities the
course presents.
Evon said students with a special in-
terest in anthropology can do a variety
of different projects in the course. For
example, she said, some work on the
computer analyzing cranial capacity,
some develop slides, and others do
reconstruction work on fossils.

Moralists want
'IMproper' books
out of libraries

r rnupto
A CROWD GATHERS on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington
yesterday to take part in a vigil for John Lennon, who was slain in New York
City Monday night. Psychiatrists are preparing to examine the accused
Officals study alleged
slayer of rock star

NEW YORK (UPI) - John Lennon's
accused murderer sat quietly in a
hospital prison ward yesterday as of-
ficials tried to piece together the con-
flicting identities of drug-user, "born-
again" Christian, jilted lover, and child
of a broken home that apparently drove
him to kill the man he most admired.
Mark David Chapman, a 25-year'-old
unemployed security guard and ob-
sessive Beatles fan from Honolulu, was
confined to a spare second-floor cell in
Bellevue Hospital for 30 days of
psychiatric tests to determine his com-
petency to stand trial.
CHAPMAN, A one-time rock
musician himself, faces up to 15 years
to life in prison if convicted of the.
second-degree murder charges against
Lennon's body was removed from the
city medical examiner's office and

taken to a funeral chapel for cremation.
There will be no funeral.
Lennon's wife, Yoko Ono,'}has said
she would set the time for a silent
prayer vigil for the slain rock star later
in the week.
A PRISON guard - one of four
assigned to a continuous suicide watch
on Chapman - said he hadn't heard the
accused killer say "two words since
this morning" when he was screened by
hospital psychiatrists.
He said all the furniture in the room
had been removed except for a bed. A
barred window, "fogged over" with
some opaque paint, admitted a faint
light from a courtyard. The television
in the day room was turned down so
Chapman could not hear news reports
of Lennon's death.
"We're being really carefur because
of the nature of this," Bellevue Hospital
spokeswoman Sandy Smith said.

CHICAGO (UPI) - Complaints about
books in public libraries have increased
five-fold since the election of Ronald
Reagan, a spokeswoman for the
American Library Association said
Judith Krug said libraries across the
country are being asked to remove
materials that contain ideas "with
which the complainants disagree or feel
are improper to make available across
the board."
Many of the complainants, she said,
identify themselves as members of the
Moral Majority.
"In the past three or four years, we
have had an average of three to five
complaints a week," she said. "We are

now averaging three to five complaints
Krug said the complaints have been
lodged against a wide variety of
materials and not against any par-
ticular kind of book.
One of the more serious incidents
took place in Abingdon, Va., where a
man who identified himself as a Baptist
minister, the Rev. Tom Williams,
demanded that Harold Robbins' The
Lonely Lady, Philip Roth's Goodbye
Columbus and Sidney Sheldon's
Bloodline be removed from the local
Williams threatened to file charges
against the librarian if any minors had
been allowed to check out the books.

the film:;"EL SALVADOR"'
Friday, Dec. 12 Angell Hall
Rm. 2235 at 12:00 noon
Sat. December 13-6:00 p.m.
Washtenaw Ave. Ann Arbor

Reagan to name eight
Cabinet choice s today.


A-V Services-Barefoot Doctors of Rural China, 12:15 p.m., SPH II Aud.
Alt. Action Films-The Groove Tube, 7, 9 p.m., Nat. Sci. Aud.
Cinema Guild-The Shop Around the Corner, 7,9:05 p.m., Lorch Hall Aud.
Mediatrics-Jungle Book, 7 p.m., The Three Caballeros, 8:45 p.m., Angell
Aud. A.
Classic Film Theatre-Gone With the Wind, 4, 8 p.m., Michigan Theatre.
Dance-Dance Composition Classes Showing, 4 p.m., Dance Studio A.
PTP-Theatre de la Jeune Lune, "A French Christmas," 7 p.m., Power
Guild House-Open poetry reading, 7:30 p.m., 802 Monroe.
Ark-Ceilian, Round-Robin song swap, 8:30 p.m., 1421 Hill St.
School of Music-Symphony Band and Concert Band, 8 p.m., Hill.
School of Music-Voice Recital, Carla Connors, 8 p.m., Recital Hall.
Biology-Steven Heidemann, "Microtubule Assembly During Meioticj
Maturation of Xenopus Eggs," noon, 1139 Nat. Sci.
CJS-Marshall P.S. Wu, "Japanese Erotic Woodblock Prints," noon, Lane
Hall Commons.
Comp. Lit.-Marcel Muller, "Fixed Forms: The Modern Sonnet-Fran-
ce," 12:10 p.m., MLB 4th floor commons.
Vision/Hearing-Alan Wilde, "Geometric Optics," 12:15 p.m., 2055 MHRI.
Education-Robert Halpern, Frances Parker-Crawford, "The Impact of
P.L. 94-142 on the Handicapped Child and Family: Institutional Responses
and their Consequences," 3:30 p.m., 1211 SEB.
MHRI-Paul Marangos, "Neuronal and Non-neuronal Processing of
Neurophysin and Brain Opiocortin Precursors," 3:45 p.m., 1057 MHRI.
Chemistry - Peter Suwanasri, "Application of NMR to the Studies of En-
zymes," 4 p.m., 1200 Chem.
Med. Ctr. Bible Study-12:30 p.m., F2230 Mott Library.
Campus Weight Watchers-5:30 p.m., League Project Room.
PIRGIM-Consumer Task Force meeting, 6:30 p.m., Union.
Inter-VarsityChristian Fellowship-7 p.m., Union and League.
MSA-Task Force meeting, 7:30 p.m., 3909 Union.
Al Anon-8:30 p.m., N2815 U. Hosp., 2nd level NPI.
New Left Coalition-8 p.m., EQ Greene Lounge.
Ann Arbor Alliance of Neighborhoods-7:30 p.m., 111 North Fifth Avenue.
Ann Arbor Advocates for Safe Alternatives in Childbirth-Holiday Dessert
Potluck, 7:30 p.m., 602 East Huron.
WUOM-Union-NPR's "A Question of Place" series replay "W.E.B.
Dubois" program, commentary, 4 p.m., Union Kuenzel Room.
International Night-Germany 5 p.m., League Cafeteria.
Computing Ctr.-General meeting for Computing Ctr. Users, 3 p.m., 1035

WASHINGTON (AP) President-
elect Ronald Reagan will announce his
choice. for at least eight Cabinet-level
positions today, including Merrill Lyn-
ch chairman Donald Regan as treasury
secretary, sources close to the tran-
sition said yesterday.
The sources said that Gen. Alexander
Haig Jr., former White House chief of
staff under Richard Nixon, had rep
emerged as the leading candidate for
secretary of state but that a decision on
that post would probably not be an-
nounced today.
REAGAN RETURNED yesterday to
the nation's capital and expressed
irritation at suggestions that he has
been slow to name his Cabinet. He told
reporters, "We'll have something" by
As for a meeting with Haig, Reagan
said, "He's not on the schedule for
anything. I don't think there are' any
plans for that." Asked if Haig still was
in contention for the post, Reagan said,
"Sure." ,
shaping the new administration said
Reaganwas expected to make these
appointments today.
Secretary of the Treasury: Regan,
chairman of Merrill Lynch, Pierce,
Fenner, and Smith, Inc., the nation's
largest brokerage concern.
Attorney General: William French
Smith, Reagan's personal attorney.
Secretary of Defense: former Nixon

administration official Caspar Wein-
Director of the CIA: William Casey,
former chairman of the Securities and
Exchange Commission and manager of
Reagan's presidential campaign.
Secretary of Health and Human Ser-
vices: Retiring Sen. Richard Schweiker
of Pennsylvania.
Director of the Office of Management
and Budget: Rep. David Stockman of
Secretary of Commerce: Malcolm
Baldrige, chairman of Scovill, Inc., a
Connecticut-based manufacturer.
Secretary of Transportation: Drew'
Lewis, a Pennsylvania businessman
who is deputy chairman of the
Republican National Committee.
Sources said others to be named to
the Cabinet include Ray Donovan, a
New Jersey construction executive, as
secretary of labor. ABC News said the
secretary of agriculture would be
Richard Ling, president of the
American Meat Institute
Bring Your Poetry
to on
Thur., Dec. 11
7:30 at
02 Monroe


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TIME: 1:00 P.M.



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