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Researchers Have Successfully Pieced Together The Skull Of A Neanderthal Woman Who Walked The Earth 75,000 Years Ago And Even Created A 3D Facial Reconstruction Showing What She Might Have Looked Like

Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Around 75,000 years ago, a Neanderthal woman walked the Earth. In 2018, her bones were uncovered in a cave in northern Iraq.

For decades, Shanidar Cave has been known as a significant archaeological site containing multiple sets of Neanderthal remains.

The female Neanderthal’s remains consisted of a skeleton almost down to the waist. The skull had been flattened into more than 200 pieces. Her head had been crushed by rocks shortly after her death. It was then compacted further by several thousand years of sediment buildup.

But over the last five years, researchers from the University of Cambridge and Liverpool John Moores University have put the skull back together.

And now, they have revealed a three-dimensional facial reconstruction of what the woman might have looked like. The woman was given the name Shanidar Z.

After the research team rebuilt the skull, they scanned it to create a digital reconstruction. Next, they printed a three-dimensional model of the skull. Adrie and Alfons Kennis, Dutch paleoartists and twin brothers, added layers of fake skin, muscle, hair, and eyes to form the Neanderthal woman’s face.

According to Emma Pomeroy, a paleo-anthropologist with the Department of Archaeology at Cambridge University, the skulls of Neanderthals and humans look very different from each other.

“Neanderthal skulls have huge brow ridges and lack chins, with a projecting midface that results in more prominent noses. But the recreated face suggests those differences were not so stark in life. It’s perhaps easier to see how interbreeding occurred between our species,” she said.

Neanderthals are one of humans’ closest extinct relatives. They lived in Eurasia until they disappeared about 40,000 years ago.

Gorodenkoff – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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