Brazilian researchers recreate face of a man who lived in Egypt 35,000 years ago

The two scientists used a process known as photogrammetry

Brazilian researchers used a process called photogrammetry to create this image of a man who lived in Egypt 35,000 years ago. Photo: Cicero Moraes
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Brazilian researchers have digitally recreated what a man who lived in Egypt 35,000 years ago might have looked like, using a process known as photogrammetry.

The skeleton of the man, believed to be of African ancestry, was found more than 40 years ago at an archaeological site in Egypt Nile valley.

The only archaeological clue found next to his body was a stone axe.

The man is the oldest Homo sapiens to have been found in Egypt and one of the oldest in the world. He is believed to have stood at about 1.6 metres and was between the ages of 17 and 29 when he died.

"The skeleton has most of the bones preserved, although there have been some losses," said archaeologist Moacir Elias Santos, one of the two scientists involved in creating an image of the man's face. "But the main structure for facial approximation, the skull, was well preserved," he told Live Science.

Mr Santos and Cicero Moraes, a 3D designer, discovered that the skull had a mostly modern structure, although the jaw was much more robust than what is typically found in contemporary homo sapiens.

The use of photogrammetry in archaeology dates back decades, but recent technological advances have made the technique more affordable and accurate.

Basically, photogrammetry creates 3D renderings from 2D images and uses feature matching to capture from every angle an artefact, burial site or, in this case, a human skull.

The Brazilian scientists admit that their digital recreation is only an approximation, but say that their work should help scientists understand an important chapter in human evolution.

Using digital technology to recreate images of the faces of long deceased people has made significant strides in recent years. Among the most stunning examples of this work was that of Ramses II, one of Egypt’s most famous pharaohs.

More recently, 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 north-west Saudi Arabia.

Updated: April 10, 2023, 4:43 AM