The oldest shark victim: a 3,000-year-old fisherman

She was attacked by a shark in the Seto Inland Sea in the Japanese archipelago

Had at least 790 deep wounds

After analyzing the distribution of the tooth marks, it is believed that it was a tiger shark or a white shark

He is the oldest victim of a shark attack to date. A man who died 3,000 years ago as a result of an attack by one of these sharks. It has been discovered by researchers at the University of Oxford. The victim was attacked by a shark in the Seto Inland Sea in the Japanese archipelago.

An international investigation team has carefully recreated what happened, using a combination of archaeological science and forensic techniques, the result has been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

The remains were buried in the so-called Tsukumo Shell-mound cemetery.

It is an adult with 790 wounds

The causes of his death have come as a surprise. The researchers in charge of the study, Professors J. Alyssa White and Rick Schulting were investigating the evidence of a violent traumaor in the skeletal remains of prehistoric hunter-gatherers at Kyoto University and they found the skeletal remains of the so-called number 24, an adult male full of traumatic injuries.

“We were initially puzzled by how which could have caused at least 790 deep wounds and sawed off this man, “says the Oxford couple.

After analyzing the remains, they ruled out that he had died from any of the usual predators: “The injuries they were mainly confined to the arms, legs, and the front of the chest and abdomen. Through a process of elimination, we rule out human conflict and the most commonly reported animal predators or scavengers, ” they explain.

Since archaeological cases of shark reports are extremely rare, resorted to cases of shark attacks Forensics looking for clues and worked with expert George Burgess, director emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research. And the international team put together a reconstruction of the attack.

I was fishing

The team concluded that the individual died more than 3,000 years ago, between 1370 and 1010 BC. C. The distribution of the wounds strongly suggests that the victim was alive at the time of the attack; they cut off his left hand, possibly a defense wound.

The body of individual 24 had been recovered shortly after the attack and buried with his people in the cemetery. The excavation records showed that the was also missing his right leg and his left leg was positioned on his upper body in an inverted position.

According to investigators: “Given his injuries, he was clearly the victim of a shark attack. It is possible that the man was fishing with companions at the time, as he quickly recovered. And, depending on the character and distribution of the tooth marks, the species most likely responsible It was a tiger or a white shark. “

Co-author Dr Mark Hudson, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute, says: ‘The Neolithic people of Jomon Japan exploited a variety of marine resources. It is unclear if Tsukumo 24 was deliberately targeting sharks or if the shark was attracted to the blood or bait of other fish. Either way, this find not only provides a new perspective on ancient Japan, but is also a rare example of archaeologists capable of re-enact a dramatic episode in the life of a prehistoric community. ”

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