A new analysis recently revealed the 3,000-year-old bones of a man who appeared to be the oldest shark victim ever discovered.
According to a ScienceAlert report, the analysis showed the man had a specifically "nesting meeting with one of the marine predators," in the Japanese archipelago's Seto Inland Sea.
Almost 800 wounds scored the man's skeleton, none of which exhibited any signs of healing, suggesting intensely, that the encounter was a deadline one.
The bones, recovered from the Tsukumo Shell-mound archeological site close to the Seto Inland Sea, were originally excavated early in the 20th century CE, although an explanation for the injuries of the man remained indefinable.
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The Bones Discovered
The bones were found by J. Alyssa White and Rick Schulting, archeologists of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, who were examining violence in prehistoric Japan.
Describing the bones that they discovered, the two explained they were at first, "flummoxed" by what could have resulted from at least 790 deep, toothed injuries to this man.
There were lots of injuries and yet, the man was buried in the Tsukumo Shell-mound cemetery site, the community burial site, continued the archeologists.
They added, the injuries were primarily confined to the legs, arms, and front of the chest and abdomen. Through an elimination process, the discoverers said they ruled out human conflict and more commonly reported animal scavengers or predators.
In addition, according to a similar EurekAlert! report, the lesions on the man's bones called Tsukumo No. 24, were surely curious. They were described as short-edged, and curved, which the study authors found inconsistent with the stone tools in use during that time.
Furthermore, the man's left hand and right leg were found missing, and his left leg paced above his body, in an inverted position for burial.
Shark Attack Victim
As indicated in this report, shark encounters are infrequently seen on the archeological record although they did not seem to match any other kind of animal encounter either.
The archeologists turned to George Burgess, a marine biologist from the Florida Museum of Natural History's Florida Program for Shark Research, as well as shark encounters' records to find out if the wounds of No. 24 matched dup there.
Given the injuries, explained White and Schulting, the man was clearly a victim of a shark attack. The man, they elaborated, may well have been fishing with companions during that time, since he was rapidly recovered.
More so, based on the character and distribution of the tooth marks, the most likely species responsible was either a tiger or white shark.
It was not possible to slim the species down further, since the bit marks are quite a lot, and they overlap that a diagnostic jaw shape cannot be inferred.
Highlighting Risks of Marine Fishing and Shellfish Diving
The research team conducted bioarchaeological assessments of the bones, to identify when No. 24 had lived, confirm his gender, and work out how old he was at the time of his death.
According to their analysis, the researchers found the man was young to middle-aged during the dime of his death, and that he lied around 1370 to 1010 BCE.
The man's remains had been recovered right after the shark encounter and buried in his people's cemetery. Even though the counter appears violent, the researchers believe that the man would have died quite fast.
Given the number of bites that reached the bones of the man, his femoral arteries, the study specified, would have been severed early, leading to rapid death from hypovolemic shock, which took place when the body rapidly loses at least one-fifth of its blood.
The study provides a rare understanding into the dangers of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. In the study, "3000-year-old shark attack victim from Tsukumo shell-mound, Okayama, Japan", published in the Journal of Archeological Science: Reports, the authors wrote, the attacks on Tsukumo No. 24 underscores the risks of marine fishing and shellfish diving or, perhaps, the "risks of opportunistic hunting of sharks drawn to blood while fishing."
Related information is shown on Wellcome Collection's YouTube video below:
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