“She was about 150 cm tall. Tests on the skeletal tissue concluded that she consumed a lot of protein, from seafood or rivers,” he added.
He surmised that the Penang Woman was of mixed Australomelanesian and Mongoloid ancestry based on the features of her face.
The radiocarbon dating also showed which era the woman might have lived.
The skeleton of a Penang Woman was unearthed by USM archeologists during a 2017 dig at Guar Kepah, a Neolithic site located in Penang, in northwest Malaysia.
Computed tomography was used to scan the face
A facial approximation of the woman, who is estimated to have lived until the age of about 40 based on dental wear and a cranial suture closure, was made by USM researchers in collaboration with Brazilian graphics expert Cicero Moraes using computed tomography scans of the body’s “almost complete” skull and 3D images of contemporary Malaysians.
“In addition, we used virtual donors (3D reconstructed computed tomography) with a structure close to the skull to be approximated and we adapted (deformed) the donor until it fit the skull. With all this cross-data, we have an idea of what the face might look like,” Moraes told LiveScience.
About radiocarbon dating
Some of the findings uncovered in archaeological excavations are various organic clues containing the element carbon. By measuring the density or radioactivity of the radioactive 14C (radiocarbon) isotope, which is found as traces in organic finds containing carbon, the aforementioned finds and the layers and contexts in which these finds were found can be dated.