What early Europeans might have looked like

May 5, 2009 • 7:01 am

Today’s Daily Mail reports on an upcoming BBC2 program in which a forensic scientist Richard Neve, using 40,000-year-old bones, recreated the face of a very early inhabitant of Europe.  This was soon after “modern Homo sapiens” began migrating out of Africa and populatint the world (ca. 100,000 to 60,000 years ago).

From the article:

To sculpt the head, Mr Neave called on his years of experience recreating the appearance of murder victims as well as using careful measurements of bone.

It was made for the BBC2 series The Incredible Human Journey. This will follow the evolution of humans from the cradle of Africa to the waves of migrations that saw Homo sapiens colonise the globe.

The head has taken pride of place on the desk of Alice Roberts, an anthropologist at Bristol University, who presents the programme.

‘It’s really quite bizarre,’ she told Radio Times. ‘I’m a scientist and objective but I look at that face and think “Gosh, I’m looking at the face of somebody from 40,000 years ago” and there’s something weirdly moving about that.

‘Richard creates skulls of much more recent humans and he’s used to looking at differences between populations.

‘He said the skull doesn’t look European or Asian or African. It looks like a mixture of all of them.

‘That’s probably what you’d expect of someone among the earliest populations to come to Europe.’

And, if you’re of European ancestry, no matter how far back, here’s what your forebear might have looked like:


7 thoughts on “What early Europeans might have looked like

  1. The upper part of the head (from the eyes and nose bridge)looks too small to fit the lower part. It gives the appearance of having been shrunken.

  2. soft tissue makes all the difference, doesn’t it? hopefully we’ll get to a place someday where we can more accurately determine from genetic evidence what members of this population actually looked like… skin color? eyelid folds? nose cartilage? lip volume? currently all guessed at.

  3. Totally out of topic: I’ve just added the rss for this blog on google reader, but it didn’t automatically chose any title, it was “title unknown”, instead of “why evolution is true”. I just thought you’d want to know that, so you can eventually fix it. I don’t know how to do it though.

  4. He looks like the janitor from the West Indies that I used to know years ago in New York.

    Google Reader always lists your blog as “title unknown”. Isn’t the title of the blog listed as “why evolution is true” under “settings” in Blogger?

  5. the nose is too flat. Early European nose shapes were long and narrow with a high nose bridge. That is preserved in the skull fossils. The face is neotonic and their is a surprising lack of hair. the only accuracy seems to be the coloration.

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