() — Brazilian experts used digital images to reveal the face of an Egyptian man who lived 35,000 years ago.
Archaeologist Moacir Elias Santos and 3D designer Cícero Moraes used the skeletal remains of a man found at an archaeological site in Egypt to recreate a digital image.
The image represents a detailed facial approximation of the skull of Nazlet Khater 2, a 35,000-year-old fossil that was discovered in 1980 in the Nile Valley of Egypt.
Subsequently, anthropological analysis identified the skeletal remains as belonging to a man of African descent, who was between the ages of 17 and 29 at the time of his death. Analysis suggests the man was approximately 1.61 meters (5.3 feet).
The team used the facial reconstruction process, which helps archaeologists recreate the facial features of a deceased person using skeletal remains.
“A few years ago, we were already working on a series of approximations related to human evolution, thanks to the replicas of the best-known fossils,” Moacir Santos, an archaeologist at the Ciro Flamarion Cardoso Archaeological Museum in Ponta Grossa, Brazil, told . “The videos were converted into photos and were used to prepare the photogrammetry of the skull, which gave shape to the study.”
Photogrammetry is the process of extracting 3D information from photographs, which is what Santos and Moraes did after viewing the man’s skeletal remains at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization in Cairo.
This process has been used by experts to determine how humans have evolved over the centuries.
In February, researchers unveiled a 3D construction of an ancient Nabataean woman based on remains discovered in 2015 in a 2,000-year-old tomb at Hegra, an archaeological site in Saudi Arabia.
“Using the skulls of living people in addition to the work done in the forensic field… the probability that the image resembles that of NK2 is significantly high,” Moraes told .
Santos and Moraes hope their work will inform other archaeologists’ research on human evolution. They plan to show the facial reconstruction at a future exhibition of their study, which was published in the Brazilian magazine OrtogOnline last month.
“The fact that this individual is over 30,000 years old makes it important for understanding human evolution,” Santos said.
Moraes emphasized that while man’s jaw is stronger than modern humans today, “(35,000 years ago) we were about the same.”
“If a man from that time could walk down the street (today), people would not see any difference from others,” he said.