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technology improves we are able to get a better look into ancient history so that we can actually understand the sort of lifestyle our ancestors lived and from where we have evolved to our present society. Looking back 100,000 years ago, it is amazing at the rapid speed of evolution that we have reached compared to how slow things were developing back in the day, and this doesn’t just apply to technology but in all sense.

Today we get to see that Neanderthals are considered by some historians to be very different from our original ancestors (Homo-Sapiens) in fact, they have quite a similar resemblance. Two great paleo-anthropological artists by the name of Adrie and Alfons Kennis have worked most of their life building very realistic faces from the skulls of our ancient ancestors that have been found in the last 30 years. They are considered to be the best in the field the recreation of Krijn surely shows this.

The first Neanderthal in the Netherlands

In 2009 a mature pathologist by the name of Luc Anthonis found a piece from Krijn’s skull on the Dutch coast. Although he was only able to find the skull part of the eyebrow arch this was sufficient for the two artists to work with in order to reconstruct the Neanderthal’s face. The skull fragment was also given to the National Museum of Antiquities from Leiden where a carbon footprint analysis showed that the skull piece was between 50,000 to 70,000 years old.

The Neanderthal Krijn’s fossil eyebrow arch (Source: Servaas Neijens/ Rijksmuseum)

The study also concluded that Krijn mostly consumed red means making him a carnivore (as excepted) and that he died from a young age (probably in his 20s) due to a tumor that he was having and probably never knew about it. From the skull fragment that was found, it could see that due to the shape above the eyebrow arch, Krijn was suffering from a head tumor know today as epidermoid cyst which today is easily treatable.

What really fascinated all the researchers is that the Krijn lived in the Netherlands, until this discovery there were no historical records of any Neantherdals to have lived or even passed what we call today Netherlands. This makes Krijn the first Neanderthal from the Netherlands.

Reconstructing Krijn

Adrie and Alfons started working on the reconstruction of Krijn in 2015. The process is very long and quite complex, the reason why it takes years to complete such a perfect model. The first stage is analyzing the exact skull structure, the facial tissue and then getting all the proportions right based on other data of Neanderthals.

The twin brothers Adrie and Alfons Kennis from Arnhem reconstructing Krijn and showing their collection of ancient Neanderthal skulls. (Source: de Gelderlande)

These are the same two artists who have worked on famous recreations such as Otzi and even Lucy who is considered to be our oldest ancestor in the humanoid family. The reconstruction of Krijn took much longer than most pieces because they only have a fragment of the skull to work with, but with today’s incredible 3D scanners it is simply amazing what can be accomplished.

Krijn during the first reconstruction phase (Source: Servaas Neijens/ Rijksmuseum)

It is believed that the rest of Krijn’s bones are somewhere also on the Dutch coast where the fragment was originally found. After the last Ice Age when all the ice melted down the sea level started to rise and many things that were buried ended up going deep into the sea bed. Looking for these pieces today would be very time-consuming, but maybe in the near future, we will develop a piece of tech that will help us easily identify fossils within the ground.

Krijn, is on display at the National Museum of Antiquities (Source: Servaas Neijens/ Rijksmuseum)

For the time being, let’s admire Krijn in all of his splendor.

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