This VR App Reconstructs 30,000-Year-Old Homo Sapiens Faces in 3D

Virtual reality gives us a close up of our ancient ancestors.

Humans 30,000 years ago looked different than us — but thanks to a VR app, we can now paint a picture of their faces in 3D.

The app from Visual Science studio, VRScience, claims to offer the first scientifically accurate VR visualization of the Sungir people, who lived in Russia in ancient times and are the ancestors of today’s northern and eastern Europeans.

“Cutting-edge science combined with computer graphics is a powerful tool for promoting science among children and inspiring young people to learn about history and the natural world …” Visual Science CEO Ivan Konstantinov said in a press release.

Laser scans and high-definition photographs of skulls from two Sungir siblings between 10 to 13 years old provided the mold to visualize the faces through 3D modeling software and facial reconstruction techniques.

“By visualizing these details with scientific rigor, we’re able to share Sungir with the widest possible audience,” he added.

The RAS Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology and the All-Russian Science Festival supported the reconstruction. Visual Science will also demo the app at the upcoming All-Russian Science Festival.

The festival’s co-chair and rector of Moscow State University, Viktor Sadovnichiy, said in a press release the app’s reconstruction is of “the highest order.”

“[It] will find an audience both among the festival attendees, who will be able to immerse themselves in the world of the Paleolithic, as well as among pedigreed scientists, who will find confirmation of hypotheses that had been put forward earlier,” Sadovnichiy said. 

The app is available for Google Cardboard or you can watch a 360-degree video on your browser or smartphone. VRScience also offers other experiences — like one on the Zika virus.

You can watch the 360-degree video below.

Image Credit: Visual Science

About the Scout

Dieter Holger

Dieter is a technology journalist reporting for VRScout out of London. Send tips to and follow him on Twitter @dieterholger.

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