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“The first man to walk the earth” returned after 45,000 years

“The first man to walk the earth” returned after 45,000 years

Scientists have revived one of the first modern humans (homo sapiens) to walk the earth after 45,000 years. The woman, named Zlatý kůň, is expected to reveal unknowns about the origins of humanity.


An international team of academics from Brazil, Australia and Italy has brought to life the face of the “oldest human” to have walked the earth. This remarkable discovery is based on a digital model of the broken skull of a woman found in the Czech Republic 70 years ago. The woman, called Zlatý kůň, or golden horse, is thought to have lived around 45,000 years ago and was one of the first homo sapiens to inhabit Eurasia after the ancestors of modern humans migrated from Africa.

Facial reconstruction, known as facial approximation, is a technique commonly used in forensic studies. In this case, the team did not have direct access to the ancient skull. Instead, they used recorded measurements and reference images that were previously used to reconstruct Tutankhamun’s face earlier this year.

However, the digital modelling of Zlatý kůň’s face revealed intriguing details about her ancestry. About three per cent of the woman’s genome was of Neanderthal ancestry. However, Zlatý kůň’s features were similar to those of modern humans and she had considerably larger brains compared to her early human ancestors.

The first man to walk the earth

Brazilian graphologist Cícero Moraes, a co-author of the study, noted the robustness of the woman’s facial structure, especially the lower jaw. When this jaw structure, similar to that of Neanderthals, was first discovered in nine pieces in a Bulgarian cave called Bacho Kiro in 1950, archaeologists mistook Zlatý kůň’s skull for that of a man.

The first man to walk the earth

The researchers pieced together Zlatý kůň’s face using statistical data from a 2018 reconstruction of the skull and computed tomography scans of a modern man and woman.

The first man to walk the earth

Thanks to this, the experts were able to digitally reproduce Zlatý kůň’s facial features. However, due to missing areas of the skull, including the nasal bone, maxilla, left eye socket and parts of the frontal bone, the team supplemented the reconstruction with data from 30 other skulls of various lineages and sexes.

On the other hand, the scientists depicted Zlatý kůň as a woman with dark, curly hair and brown eyes. However, the exact colour of the woman’s skin, hair and eyes remained controversial due to the lack of available data.

The first man to walk the earth

Finally, the revitalisation of Zlatý kůň’un’s face sheds light on the ancient history of human migration and the intermingling of early human species.

The first man to walk the earth

Zlatý kůň’un’s face acts as a window into the past, providing insight into a person who lived 45,000 years ago in a world very different from today.

“The first man to walk the earth” returned after 45,000 years

Gül Demirci

Hi, I'm Gul. I am a writer for Expat Guide Turkey and I strive to create the best content for you. To contact me, you can send an e-mail to Happy reading!

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