Brazilian designer recreates the face of a primitive dog in 3D

designer Cicero Moraeswho lives in Sinop (MT), has pioneered the use of 3D technology to reconstruct the face of a primitive pet, dog wave, which lived about 7,600 years ago, was discovered in Portugal. This is the first time that technology has been used to reconstruct this animal’s head.

The facial reconstruction project, which had a hypothetical donor to the Belgian Shepherd Malinois species, began contemplating in 2021 and completed in 2022. The Muge Dog’s face was first presented in a scientific article published on mdpi.com, last week. Moraes used the same technique to rebuild the skeleton of a turtle, which destroyed the piece in a fire.

Building on the designer’s work, 3D reconstruction is also gaining ground in archaeology, says Ana Elisabeth Perez, director of the Portuguese Association of Biologists and Professor at the University of Losofona – Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Biology. In an email interview with Estadão, she explained that the work opens up space “in determining zoological findings.”

Mesolithic animal

Mogi dog from the Mesolithic period, therefore, according to experts, its reconstruction is “very important” because it will be possible to preserve documented and prehistoric history. Archaeologists discovered the skeleton in the late 19th century in Mogi, Portugal. This reconstruction was possible after learning about the practice of facial reconstruction, which has also been used to improve the quality of life (as in the case of the tortoise), and this time, it has been used to rebuild the dog. According to Ana Elisabete Pires, the animal is a very important product of a very ancient process of domestication, the first whose “purpose has not yet been revealed”.

The director highlights that the interdisciplinary study combined anatomy, veterinary medicine, animal archaeology, artistry, and painting to allow the animal’s face to be reconstructed. “I’ve been doing research on it over time,” he says. About this sample, I also reported that isotope analyzes were performed for direct dating and inference on diet and genomics, in an attempt to find out maternal and sex ratios and some morphological, veterinary and radiological characteristics for age estimation. In addition to the 3D reconstruction of the sample with distortion techniques and the application of some technical components.

The Brazilian designer says he was approached by Hugo Matos Pereira, of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Universidad Lusovona de Humanedad de Lisbon, about using the OrtogOnBlender software, which he developed. Matos invited him to join the group of scientists. “I found the idea very interesting and immediately accepted it,” he says.

An interdisciplinary team was formed by academics and scientists from Portugal in the fields of animal sciences, veterinary sciences, history, humanities, as well as archaeology, under the direction of Ana Elisabet Perez, member of the Executive Board of the Portuguese Society. from biologists.

Challenges

Moraes also says that among the challenges in the reconstruction are the level of bone displacement and the absence of anatomical parts of the skull, as well as accurate information on the soft-tissue thickness of modern dogs. “Although approximate, it does acknowledge this prehistoric discovery,” he and Professor Anna Elizabeth explain.

The designer received the data from Muge Fossil Tomography, and adapted it to the reconstruction of the human face and the manufacture of prosthetics. The next step, according to Moraes, is to build the whole body. “Reconstruction can benefit our understanding of the morphology of these animals and help the general public to interpret sometimes obscure scientific data,” he says in an excerpt from the article.

He notes that the research used information from the Belgian Sheepdog Malinois, which was a hypothetical donor. The Muge Dog is one of the oldest dog skeletons ever found in almost all of the Portuguese territory.

Excavations at Wave began in 1864 by Carlos Ribeiro and the dog whose face has now been reconstructed was discovered in 1880, when half of the Shell Mound was excavated to show the site to visiting scholars at the 9th International Conference on Anthropology and Prehistoric Archeology in Lisbon. The skeleton of a wave has been rediscovered inside the dresser drawer of the Geological Museum in Lisbon, 120 years later.

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