Archaeologists believe Zuzu was a man who lived in Brazil. His features are remarkably preserved. This approximation of Zuzu’s face depicts what he would have looked like.
The skeleton of Zuzu was unearthed by archaeologists in 1997. The size and shape of the skull led them to believe the remains belonged to a female. And they named the skeleton Zuzu.
Many mystery have surrounded the unearthed skeleton since then. But this time, a team of researchers went above and above to address some unresolved issues.
The investigation began last year, and the team successfully recreated Zuzu’s face this year.
They digitally stitched the 57 photos together using photogrammetry to create a virtual 3D model of the skull “in order to reveal the face of that man so mysterious and so important to Brazilian history,” the researchers wrote in their study, which was published on January 25.
Mooacir Elias Santos, an archaeologist at the Ciro Flamarion Cardoso Archaeology Museum in Brazil, is the study’s initial author.
“Trying to recover the appearance that an individual had in life thousands of years ago is a way to bring them to the present day, bringing them closer to the public,” he told Live Science in an email. “The main interest was to be able to glimpse the face of Zuzu, whose skeleton is one of the most important finds in the Serra da Capivara National Park region.”
They used computerized tomography (CT scans) from living virtual donors to inform their work and used that information to “adjust the structure of the skull” by including tissue thickness markers, study co-author Cícero Moraes, a Brazilian graphics expert, told Live Science in an email.
The researchers created two results, both depicting a young man with a broad nose and lips. Based on information provided by virtual donors, one of the approximations included hair and brows, while the other featured Zuzu with closed eyes and no hair.
According to the study, because the digital face was “slightly emaciated,” the researchers retracted the lower jaw to match a gap that came from some missing teeth,
“The most interesting thing when looking at Zuzu’s skull is having an idea of what he would have looked like in life,” Santos said. “It is a reunion with one of the oldest ancestors of our country.”