Reconstruction of the face of a woman who lived 31000 years ago

Reconstruction of the face of a woman who lived 31000 years ago

More than 140 years ago, archaeologists discovered a human skull in a cave in the Czech Republic, at which time the team dated the skull about 31,000 years ago and classified it as human.

In 1881, Australian-Hungarian archaeologist Joseph Schombati discovered a skull in the main cave of an archaeological monument near the city of Mladić, Czechia, originally believed to be the skull of an adult male; later studies comparing the skull with other fossils found at the same location showed that it was a woman who died about 17 years old 31000 years ago, one of the oldest Homo sapiens ever discovered in Europe.

In the early and late 1930s, two forensic reconstructions of a person were carried out, but at the time the skull was still thought to belong to a human being; most recently, the Museum of Natural History in Vienna made an interactive online version of the skull available under the Creative Commons license; this model then inspired the creation of a new facial reconstruction.

Unfortunately, the lower jaw of this skull is missing. In an attempt to fill the gaps, researchers used several hundred computer scans of modern people from different population groups to collect existing data on the jaws of modern human beings. Now that the skull fragments were ready, they used markers to estimate the thickness of the soft tissue that once covered it.

Although these markers are derived from statistics extracted from the living, they do not cover the entire person and do not provide information, for example, on the size of the nose, mouth and eye; to supplement the data, researchers imported computer scans of the living and distorted the bones and soft tissue on the tomogram to match the face of this woman of the Paleolithic era.

As a result of this work, two numerical approximations of what this woman might have looked like were created, one more scientific and simple, represented in gray tones with closed eyes and no hair, and the other.