Man who died 3,000 years ago is the first victim of a shark attack

A man who died 3,000 years ago, probably between 1370 and 1310 BC, is the oldest known victim of a shark attack. Scientists have just unraveled the secrets of his skeleton, discovered in Japan, near the Seto Inland Sea. They found nearly 800 wounds, the characteristics of which indicate that the victim was probably still alive during the attack, explique The Independent. “His left hand was torn off, probably in a gesture of defense”, assumes the research team.

By analyzing the injuries, “Mainly located on the arms, legs, chest and abdomen”, archaeologists have claimed to be able to exclude the hypothesis of human conflict and more common animal causes such as predators or scavengers. “The victim has at least 790 perimortem traumatic injuries, characteristic of a shark attack, including deep bony gashes, punctures, cuts and fractures from a sharp object.”

Mapping shark bites

Using both archeology and forensic techniques, the international group of scientists carefully recreated what happened during this tragic encounter of a man with a shark. In their study, published in the Journal of Archeological Science: Reports, the injuries were mapped on a 3D model of the human skeleton to facilitate visualization and analysis.

The discovery of the bones took place while studying evidence of severe trauma to prehistoric hunter-gatherer skeletons at Kyoto University. This is how this completely mutilated adult man, nicknamed Tsukumo # 24, was found. Search results indicate that his body was recovered shortly after the attack and buried with his family in a cemetery. Scientists clarified that the skeleton’s right leg was missing and the left leg was placed above the body, in an inverted position.

“We were at first bewildered by what could have caused this man’s 790 deep, jagged wounds. There were so many, and yet he was buried in the community cemetery at the Tsukumo site ”Oxford University J. Alyssa White and Rick Schulting said in a statement. According to them, the man could have been attacked while he was fishing with his companions. Based on the characteristics and distribution of the teeth marks, scientists believe the species responsible for the attack was either a tiger shark or a white shark.

“This discovery not only offers a new perspective on ancient Japan., says Mark Hudson, co-author of the study. It is also a rare example where archaeologists are able to reconstruct a dramatic episode in the life of a prehistoric community. ”

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