Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Visualizing a Stone Age Ancestor

Strong visualization skills are important in science as well as art. Using scientific tools and strong visualization skills, two Dutch reconstruction experts, Adrie and Alfons Kennis, have created a new version of the appearance of a stone age man referred to as Ötzi based on examinations of a mummified body found in the ice and knowledge of what the faces, hands and skin of modern-day people who live mostly outdoors look like.

Ötzi, named after the Ötztal Alps in Italy where he was found, was a weather-beaten and muscular man who died 5,300 years ago. Ötzi the iceman is Europe's oldest natural human mummy and has been reconstructed more accurately than ever before, based on data obtained from CT scans, X-rays and DNA analyses. Ötzi died in a high mountain pass in Italy and was covered by ice. He was buried for millennia until two German hikers found him in 1991.

Ötzi stood 5 feet 3 inches and was around 46 years old when he died after being wounded in the shoulder by an arrow. The Kennises chose to portray Ötzi bare-chested to show how muscular he was, though in reality he was dressed for the harsh weather of the Alps when he died, wearing animal hide, a cap and an insulating grass cape.

Click on the video below to see part of a documentary showing how Ötzi might have lived and died.

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