How about 3D printing a Neanderthal man?

Spy Cave and proof of the existence of the Neanderthal man.

Here is an original idea to meet our distant cousin! This is what the researchers did to give us an appearance of the Spy man, whose fossilized bones were discovered in 1886 in the Spy Cave.

The Spy Man, a revolutionary discovery for the time.

Not one but two Neanderthal skeletons were found.

The excavations uncovered two skeletons of Neanderthals, as well as tools and bones of animals that have disappeared today. It is a burial showing that there were already funeral rites. Spy II, this second skeleton, is the most complete to date.

And also the bones of an 18 month old Neanderthal baby

New research at the initiative of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences reassigns fossils to two adults and a child under two years of age. This small world would have lived on our lands more than 36,000 years ago.

Reconstruction of a Neanderthal man in 3D: the birth of Spyrou

To begin with, each bone found should be scanned. But the skeletons of the Spy Cave are incomplete. So they brought in the missing parts from collections from other countries. A pelvis from Israel, and a femur from Germany. The scanned bones are digitized. The additional rooms will be resized to fit the other elements of the skeleton found in the Spy Cave.

With software, the researchers studied the skeletons to do a biomechanical study. The goal: to find out how the Neanderthal man walked and stood.

This is already the digital skeleton. Then, the virtual bones are printed in 3 dimensions. Oh yes ! After 36 hours of work, two skeletons are printed. One is sent to the Natural History Museum in Brussels. And the other ? In Holland, with artists who will give him back his face. These artists are twin brothers: Adrie and Alfons Kennis.

After studying Papuan postures and consulting a taxidermist, they fashioned Spyrou with clay and then silicone. The result is a 1.50 m Neanderthal man with a sympathetic face and a smile strangely reminiscent of that of a very famous actor!

Isn’t there a little bit of a certain Sean Connery? Go to the Spy man space to meet Spyrou.

Want to know more?

Space of the Spy Man

Listen to us on your favorite radio !