Recent digital reconstructions of a Neanderthal man who lived around 56,000 years ago challenge our preconceived notions about their appearance.
A Brazilian graphic artist utilized scans of an ancient skull to craft a remarkable portrayal of this long-extinct human ancestor.
This particular Neanderthal inhabited the Earth during a period spanning from 130,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Despite the ancient origins of his skeletal remains, this individual was discovered relatively recently, just over a century ago, inside a cave in La Chapelle-aux-Saints, France, by a priest.
Graphic artist Cícero Moraes employed computed tomography (CT) technology to offer a fascinating glimpse into how this ancient man might have looked.
By comparing his skull measurements with those of modern human skulls in a database, missing facial details were reconstructed.
When asked about the man's appearance, Moraes shared his thoughts during an interview: "Curiously, this Neanderthal is the second approximation that the people 'fall in love,' the first one was the 'vampire' of Celakovice."
"The fossil is often referred to as an 'old man' because he was suffering from severe periodontal disease and joint degeneration or arthritis," he continued.
"The ability of this individual to survive such severe ailments indicates that he probably had help from others."
Moraes also had a conversation with Live Science, where he elaborated on the reason for creating two images.
"We generated two images, one more objective with just the bust in sepia tone without hair and another more speculative and colorful with a beard and hair," he said.
"This image shows how Neanderthals were similar to us, but at the same time, they were different, with more obvious peculiarities such as the absence of a chin, for example."
"Even so, it is impossible not to look at the image and try to imagine what that individual's life was like thousands of years ago."
The investigation into the extinction of Neanderthals, like any quest into the past, has been a topic of heated debate, marked by a myriad of conflicting theories.
These ancient human relatives shared the Earth with us for roughly 100,000 years before eventually vanishing about 40,000 years ago.
Some theories suggest they struggled to adapt to a shifting climate, while others blame the aggression of Homo sapiens or the potential interbreeding with our human ancestors.
Regardless of the contributing factor, the end result adds a compelling layer to the tapestry of images depicting our ancient predecessors.