The face of the Cro-Magnon man was covered with nodules according to a reconstitution

Researchers at the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ) have reconstructed the face of a skeleton aged 27 680 years, found in the Dordogne in 1868. Reached according to them, a genetic disease, the Homo sapiens had a face covered with benign nodules.

Discovered in 1868 in the cave of Eyzies, in Dordogne, the skeleton of Cro-Magnon Man - dated 27 680 years - is historically the first "representative" of modern man. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of this discovery, the researchers of the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (UVSQ), under the direction of the pathologist and anthropologist Philippe Charlier, practiced a direct anthropological and medical examination, as well as a micro-CT-scanner at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris and compared the data with those from anatomical and pathological reference collections. Their work was published March 29 in The Lancet.

"Realistic reconstruction"

At the end of these examinations, the scientists proposed a diagnosis: according to them, it was covered with benign nodules, including a large one on the forehead, the smallest on the superciliary arches and the lower face, due to a genetic disease calledneurofibromatosis type 1, or Von Recklinghausen disease. "His left auditory canal was also damaged, probably by a tumor that has grown," said Philippe Charlier.

Neurofibromatosis type 1 is a common genetic disorder that causes cutaneous spots and benign (non-cancerous) tumors from the nerve seed. The symptoms were highlighted in 1882 by the German physician Dr. Friedrich Von Recklinghausen, who lent his name to the disease. "We then realized a realistic reconstruction of the face of this middle-aged man, taking into account his pathology".

If nothing proves that he wore a beard so consistent, the scientists decided, by "bias", to represent it with a "abundant beard". "The team of medical anthropology which has recently been illustrated by the study of the scattered relics of Saint-Louis, or the identification of the remains of Adolf Hitler in Moscow", presents us with the face of the oldest ancestor of modern man discovered to this day.

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