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Brazilian experts have used digital imaging to reveal the face of an Egyptian man who lived 35,000 years ago.
Moacir Elias Santos, an archaeologist and Cícero Moraes, a 3D designer used the skeletal remains of a man found at an archaeological site in Egypt to recreate a digital image.
The image presents a detailed facial approximation of the skull of Nazlet Khater 2, the 35,000-year-old fossil that was discovered in 1980 in Egypt’s Nile Valley.
Anthropological analysis later identified the skeletal remains as being of a man of African ancestry, aged between 17 to 29 years old at the time of his death. The analysis suggests he stood over five feet and three inches approximately.
The team used the process of facial approximation, 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, with the best-known fossil replicas,” Moacir Santos, archaeologist at the Ciro Flamarion Cardoso Archaeology Museum in Ponta Grossa, Brazil told CNN. “The videos were converted into photos and were used for the elaboration of the photogrammetry of the skull, which shaped 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 employed by experts to determine how humans have evolved over centuries.
In February researchers unveiled a 3D construction of an ancient Nabataean woman based on remains that were discovered in 2015 in a 2,000-year-old tomb in Hegra, an archaeological site in Saudi Arabia.
“Using the skulls of living people in addition to work carried out in the forensic field… the probability that the image resembles what NK2 looked like is significantly high,” Moraes, the designer, told CNN.
Santos and Moraes hope their work will inform other archeologists’ research on human evolution. They plan to show the facial reconstruction at an exhibition in the future following their study, which was published in the Brazilian journal OrtogOnline last month.
“The fact that this individual is over 30,000 years old makes it important for understanding human evolution,” said Santos.
Moraes emphasized that while the man’s jaw is stronger than that of modern humans today, “35,000 (years ago) we are almost the same.”
“If a man of that time could walk down the street (today), people would not see any difference from others,” he said.