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Videos | Technology brought historical figures like Cleopatra back to life, these are their real faces

With a bit of imagination and a bit of technology, it is possible to recreate the faces of different members of the royalty of Ancient Egypt. There are different accounts on YouTube that, using design tools, show what the faces of different characters in the story would look like.

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For example, the PhotoshopSurgeon channel where you can see different transformations using the Photoshop program. One of the most amazing clips shows the face of Queen Tiy, wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who was the mother of Akhenaten and the grandmother of Tutankhamun.

In the video you can see how the queen was “revived” based on his mummy which is 3,400 years old. It’s a step-by-step virtual tour that takes just over three minutes.

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The rest of the channel shows all kinds of transformations made with the aforementioned editing tool: rejuvenation, trait changes, gender and much more.

For lovers of history, the Panagiotis Constantinou canal can be a good option, since technology is applied there to recreate the features of different historical figures. There is a video specifically where the human faces generated from pharonic mummies are shown, in the style of the previous clip.

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At the same time, reconstructions of the queen’s faces can be found Elizabeth I of England, Hernan CortesRoman emperors and characters from Ancient Greece.

As mentioned, they are all creations that are made using different digital reconstruction and editing techniques. But beyond these videos, there are scientific developments that seek to know more precisely how different characters in history may have looked, and for that DNA analysis is required.

Reconstruction of faces using DNA from more than 2 thousand years ago

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It should be remembered that at the end of 2021, a team of forensic researchers from a technology company recreated the faces of three men who lived in Ancient Egypt more than 2,000 years ago. Based on data from DNA extracted from its mummified remains, researchers created 3D models that show what those people looked like at 25 years of age.

Scientists at the American company Parabon NanoLabs used an advanced process known as DNA phenotyping, which involves taking DNA samples and using the data to predict the observable physical and biochemical attributes of an organism, along with your age and skin color. The three men hailed from the ancient Egyptian city of Abusir el-Meleq, south of present-day Cairo.

The findings mark “the first time that complete DNA phenotyping has been performed on human DNA of this age.”said Dr. Ellen Greytak, Parabon’s Director of Bioinformatics in a statement.

Explaining the difficult process, the scientist said that working with ancient human DNA can be challenging for two reasons: the DNA is often highly degraded, and it is usually mixed with DNA from bacteria.

The samples of the mummies, whose antiquity is estimated between 2,023 and 2,797 yearswere processed by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Tübingen in Germany, institutions that have worked together with the American company since 2017.

The trio of mummies were named JK2134, dating to 776-569 BC, JK2888, estimated to have lived around 97-2 BC, and JK2911, believed to have lived around 769-560 BC. The scientists took the data from the European Nucleotide Archive (ENA), before sequencing it and “aligning it with the reference human genome”. Enzymatic damage repair was then performed on each sample.

how was the process

To predict skin color, pigmentation, and ancestry in men, scientists used a phenotyping method called Snapshot. Using this method, the scientists concluded that the subjects’ complexion was light brown, with dark hair and eyes and no freckles.

Then the researchers generated 3D meshes that describe the facial features of the mummies. They calculated heat maps to highlight the differences between the three men and refine the details of each face. After that, Parabon’s forensic artist combined these results with Snapshot’s predictions about people’s facial features.

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