Scientists thought it was a man: what does a woman who lived 31,000 years ago look like

In 1881, archaeologists discovered the skull of a man buried in a cave in the village of Mladech on the territory

modern Czech Republic.At the time, researchers dated the skull, saying it was approximately 31,000 years old and belonged to a man. A new study has shown they were wrong: the remains belong to a woman who lived during the Stone Age.

Experts have corrected the mistake that scientists made140 years ago. It turned out that the so-called Mladech 1 skull belonged to a 17-year-old woman who lived during the Aurignacian period. It belongs to the Upper Paleolithic (approximately 43,000 to 26,000 years old). The scientists published their findings as part of a new online book, Forensic Approach to the Mladech 1 Skull. In it, the experts detailed how scientists reclassified the sex of "one of the oldest Homo sapiens found in Europe."

The researchers used line projection,corresponding to the boundaries of soft tissues and bone structures, to create an approximation of the face. Image Credit: Cicero Moraes/Jiri Sindelar/Karel Drbal

For re-identification, scientists usedinformation gathered from 19th-century archaeological excavations, forensic facial reconstructions performed by researchers in the 1930s, and CT scans to create a digitized image of the skull. Since the lower jaw was missing, the experts turned to existing data on the jaws of modern humans. So they filled in the gaps in what this person could look like.

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