Forensic artist Richard Neave is responsible for the reconstruction, based on fragments that are at least 35,000 years old. Radiocarbon dating analysis have determined that the oldest fragments may have been as old as 36,000 years old. Neave is a forensic artist, for a BBC program about the origins of the human race and evolution.
At that time, Europe was inhabited by Homo Neanderthalis, or the Neanderthal man, who were quickly replaced by African nomadic peoples. The Neanderthal Genome Project has posited that the Neanderthals were killed off by these migrating groups. The first true homo sapiens (and homo sapien sapiens), in Europe, apparently would not have been recognizable as ethnically “Caucasian” whatsoever. Those traits, often identified as “white,” seem to have emerged much later, after Europe was settled by African peoples who looked like those Neave has recreated for us here.
The primary difference between this skull and later homo sapien sapiens are the unusually large molar teeth, which has led some scientists to speculate that the skull represents some intermixing with the native Homo Neanderthalis.
Whether or not that is the case, what is certain is that the appearance of the first truly “human” European ancestors looked nothing like what many would expect.
Erik Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in Missouri, said the jaw in particular is the oldest, modern human fossil that can be directly-dated, saying that, “Taken together, the material is the first that securely documents what modern humans looked like when they spread into Europe.”
That might be a bit of a disappointment to those last remaining doubters that all of humanity originated in Africa and spread out from there.