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Scientists reconstruct the face of a woman who lived 75,000 years ago

Scientists reconstruct the face of a woman who lived 75,000 years ago

ShA group of scientists from the University of Cambridge, UK, has reconstructed the skull of a Neanderthal woman who lived 75,000 years ago. The reconstruction took more than a year and was made possible by the discovery of more than 200 skull fragments found in a cave in Iraq.

Dr Emma Pomeroy, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Cambridge, told the BBC: “I think sculpture can help us understand who they were.”

“It is very exciting and a huge privilege to be able to work with the remains of any individual, but especially someone as special as her.”

The skull was found in 2015 in Shanidar Cave, in Iraqi Kurdistan, where the remains of at least 10 Neanderthal men, women and children were found in the 1950s.

The discovery of the British group came after a call from the Kurdish authorities to resume excavation work. At that time, a skeleton – nicknamed Shanidar Z – was found that included much of the upper body, including the spine, shoulders, arms and hands.

The skull was complete, but it had been shattered into a two-centimetre-thick layer, perhaps by a stone falling from the cave.

“The skull was as flat as a pizza,” said Professor Graeme Parker, also from the University of Cambridge, who is leading the new excavations at Shanidar.

“It's an amazing journey to go from that to what we see now. As archaeologists, we can sometimes be apathetic about what we do. But every now and then, we are surprised by the fact that we are touching the past. We forget that this is extraordinary,” he added. .

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The parts were transported to the UK, where they had to be 'hardened' due to their 'soft' consistency so that the skull could be reconstructed.

The 3D scan was then given to Dutch artists Adrie and Alphonse Kenes, known for their ability to create representations of ancient people from their bones and fossil remains.

It is believed that the woman died at the age of 40 of natural causes, as she was “old at the time.”

The course of the reconstruction is chronicled in the documentary “Neanderthal Secrets,” available on Netflix.

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