Recent digitalized images of a Neanderthal man from approximately 56,000 years ago suggest that individuals in this now-extinct phase of human evolution may have had unexpectedly gentler features than previously believed.
Face Of Neanderthal Man Reconstructed After 56,000 Years Shows Different Side To Now-Extinct Species
A Brazilian graphic artist has recently given a Neanderthal a remarkable transformation by utilizing scans of an ancient skull to recreate the man's face.
The Neanderthal in question is thought to have existed during a period ranging from 130,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Despite the considerable age of his skeletal remains, this individual was only unearthed by a priest within a cave in La Chapelle-aux-Saints, France, a little over a century ago.
Graphic artist Cícero Moraes employed computed tomography (CT) to offer a haunting glimpse into the potential appearance of this ancient man.
This was achieved by comparing his skull measurements to those of human skulls in a database, allowing for the reconstruction of missing details.
Speaking to the Mail Online, Moraes was asked if the man was handsome and said:
“Curiously, this Neanderthal is the second approximation that the people 'fall in love,' the first one was the 'vampire' of Celakovice.”
He added: “The fossil is often referred to as an 'old man' because he was suffering from severe periodontal disease and joint degeneration or arthritis.”
“The ability of this individual to survive such severe ailments indicates that he probably had help from others.”
Moraes also spoke to Live Science and explained why there were two images created.
“We generated two images, one more objective with just the bust in sepia tone without hair and another more speculative and colorful with a beard and hair,” he said.
“This image shows how Neanderthals were similar to us, but at the same time, they were different, with more obvious peculiarities such as the absence of a chin, for example.”
“Even so, it is impossible not to look at the image and try to imagine what that individual's life was like thousands of years ago.”
Exploring the demise of Neanderthals, much like any investigation into the past, has been a subject of intense debate, featuring a variety of conflicting theories.
Neanderthals coexisted with humans for approximately 100,000 years, ultimately facing extinction around 40,000 years ago.
Some hypotheses propose their inability to cope with a changing climate as the cause, while others point to the aggression of Homo sapiens or even the possibility of interbreeding with their human counterparts.
Whatever the contributing factor, the outcome is a rich addition to the assortment of images portraying our ancient ancestors.