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The scarred face of Cro-Magnon man revealed

The shocking face of an ancient ancestor that lived 28,000 years ago has been revealed by scientists. 

Dubbed Cro-Magnon man, his face is covered in lumps including a large one on his forehead. 

Researchers believe the were likely benign tumours caused by a genetic disease known as neurofibromatosis. 

Cro-Magnon man had a face covered in lumps including a large one on his forehead – likely benign tumours caused by a genetic disease, according to a team of French researchers in new findings.

The skeleton of Cro-Magnon 1, a male Homo sapiens dating back 28,000 years, was discovered in 1868 in the Eyzies cave in France’s southwestern Dordogne region.

To mark 150 years since the discovery of the bones, a team of researchers including anthropologist Philippe Charlier reexamined the remains.

At the end of their investigation, ‘we proposed a new diagnosis: he had suffered from a type of neurofibromatosis,’ Charlier told AFP.

Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disease which can cause benign tumours to develop in the nervous system, and also spots or areas of pigmentation on the skin.

The team’s findings will be published in the medical journal The Lancet.

Cro-Magnon man’s skull ‘has a lesion on the forehead which corresponds to the presence of a neurofibroma (a benign nerve sheath tumor)’ which has eroded the bone, Charlier said.

To mark 150 years since the discovery of the bones, a team of researchers including anthropologist Philippe Charlier reexamined the remains. Pictured here is Cro-Magnon man's pitted skull

To mark 150 years since the discovery of the bones, a team of researchers including anthropologist Philippe Charlier reexamined the remains. Pictured here is Cro-Magnon man’s pitted skull

‘His left ear canal was also damaged, presumably also by a tumour that had grown,’ he added.

Equipped with this diagnosis, ‘we have made a realistic reconstruction of the face of this middle-aged man, taking into account his pathology’.

WHO WERE THE CRO-MAGNONS?

In 1869, a series of ancient human skeletons were found in a cave at Cro-Magnon in the Dordogne region of France

In 1869, a series of ancient human skeletons were found in a cave at Cro-Magnon in the Dordogne region of France

In 1869, a series of ancient human skeletons were found in a cave at Cro-Magnon in the Dordogne region of France.

The prehistoric humans were called Cro-Magnons, and while the bones were between 10,000 and 35,000 years old, researchers believe the population likely emerged as early as 45,000 years ago.

The Cro-Magnon skeletons were among the first fossils to be recognised as belonging to our own species—Homo sapiens.

Cro-Magnons had powerful, muscular bodies, and are believed to have been about 166 to 171 cm (about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches) tall.

Their foreheads were straight, with slight browridges, and their faces were short and wide. They were also the first humans to have a prominent chin. 

According to their skulls, their brain capacity was about 1,600 cc (100 cubic inches) – slightly larger than the average for modern humans.

Cro-Magnon 1 is the name given to the middle-aged, male skeleton of one of the four adults found in the cave.

Cro-Magnon culture produced a variety of sophisticated tools such as end scrapers, 'nosed' scrapers and fine bone tools

Cro-Magnon culture produced a variety of sophisticated tools such as end scrapers, ‘nosed’ scrapers and fine bone tools

He likely died before he reached 50 years old.  Except for the teeth, his skull is complete, though the bones in his face are pitted from disease.  

Cro-Magnon culture produced a variety of sophisticated tools such as end scrapers, ‘nosed’ scrapers and fine bone tools.

The mostly lived in deep caves although huts built completely from stones have been found. 

A study of the skeletons suggests they lived a tough life. 

In addition to Cro-Magnon 1’s pitted skeleton, several of the individuals found had fused vertebrae in their necks indicating traumatic injury.

The adult female found at the shelter had survived for some time with a skull fracture.

The visual forensic reconstruction shows a face covered in tumours, including a large one on the forehead and scores more little nodules across his face, in particular clustered around the mouth, nose and eyes.

‘He has them everywhere,’ Charlier said.

Cro-Magnon-1 was found alongside three other individuals in a cave at Cro-Magnon in the Dordogne region of France in 1869. 

Pictured is an earlier re-construction of Cro-Magnon man. Visual forensic reconstruction now shows a face covered in tumours, including a large one on the forehead and scores more little nodules across his face

Pictured is an earlier re-construction of Cro-Magnon man. Visual forensic reconstruction now shows a face covered in tumours, including a large one on the forehead and scores more little nodules across his face

The Cro-Magnon skeletons were among the first fossils to be recognised as belonging to our own species – Homo sapiens.

Cro-Magnons had powerful, muscular bodies, and are believed to have been about 166 to 171 cm (about 5 feet 5 inches to 5 feet 7 inches) tall.

Their foreheads were straight, with slight browridges, and their faces were short and wide. They were also the first humans to have a prominent chin. 

According to their skulls, their brain capacity was about 1,600 cc (100 cubic inches) – slightly larger than the average for modern humans.

A study of the skeletons suggests they lived a tough life. 

In addition to Cro-Magnon 1’s pitted skeleton, several of the individuals found had fused vertebrae in their necks indicating traumatic injury.

The adult female found at the shelter had survived for some time with a skull fracture.

The skeleton of Cro-Magnon 1, a male Homo sapiens dating back 28,000 years, was discovered in 1868 in the Eyzies cave in France's southwestern Dordogne region

The skeleton of Cro-Magnon 1, a male Homo sapiens dating back 28,000 years, was discovered in 1868 in the Eyzies cave in France’s southwestern Dordogne region

 



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