11,000-year-old Perak Man now has a face, thanks to 3D modelling


GEORGE TOWN: Perak Man – the oldest human skeleton discovered in Malaysia in 1991 – now has a face.

A team at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) used virtual 3D modelling techniques to produce a facial representation of the centuries-old Perak Man.

The team said in an article published on the USM website on Wednesday (Feb 24) that it used 21st-century technologies to determine the cognitive capabilities of the 11,000-year-old Perak Man.

It also determined that he had type A2 brachymesophalangia, a medical term which literally means "short fingers".

Perak Man, named after the state where the skeleton was found, was the most complete ancient skeleton found in South-East Asia.

The funerary artefacts indicate that Perak Man was highly respected, as he was buried at the centre of the highest cave in Lenggong, and he was the only person buried there.

The article said a copy of the original skull was made using computed tomography (CT) and 3D printing.

"Based on the internal structure of the reconstructed skull, the estimated intracranial volume (ICV) is 1,204.91ml.

"The hypothetical face of Perak Man was reconstructed according to established forensic methods.

"Based on his presumed status, Perak Man was likely a respected person in the group and, perhaps, a shaman and the most knowledgeable person in the group regarding survival, hunting, gathering and other aspects of Paleolithic daily life," it read.

According to the article, the team used virtual 3D modelling techniques to produce a facial representation of Perak Man.

"In this study, the estimated volume of Perak Man’s ICV was 1,204.91ml, which is smaller than modern humans’ cranial capacity.

"Perak Man is estimated to have been about 154cm tall, and based on the cranial suture closure, lipping of the vertebral bodies, and scapula and the pelvic bones, thinness of the scapula, and degree of tooth wear, he was about 40 to 45 years old at death, which is considered an old age for that period," the article stated.

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