Call it “CSI: Prehistory.”
Scientists have uncovered what may be the world’s oldest murder case. The victim was bashed in the head — twice — and then tossed into a pit deep inside a cave system in Spain. And it happened 430,000 years ago, during the Middle Pleistocene era.
Here’s a look at the evidence, examined by a team of researchers led by paleontologist Nohemi Sala of Madrid’s Centro Mixto UCM-ISCIII de Evolucion y Comportamiento Humano.
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As seen in the image, there are two cracks in the skull above the left eye.
“Either one of them could have been lethal because they would have penetrated the brain,” paleoanthropologist Rolf M. Quam of Binghamton University told The New York Times. “The fact that there were two fractures seems to imply an intention to kill.”
Indeed, the scientific abstract published in PLoS ONE reads more like a coroner’s report:
“The type of injuries, their location, the strong similarity of the fractures in shape and size, and the different orientations and implied trajectories of the two fractures suggest they were produced with the same object in face-to-face interpersonal conflict. Given that either of the two traumatic events was likely lethal, the presence of multiple blows implies an intention to kill. This finding shows that the lethal interpersonal violence is an ancient human behavior and has important implications for the accumulation of bodies at the site, supporting an anthropic origin.”
In other words, we humans have been killing each other for a very long time.
“This represents the earliest clear case of deliberate, lethal interpersonal aggression in the hominin fossil record,” the research team wrote.
The skull of the victim, a young adult of unknown gender, was found in 52 pieces and then put back together by the research team. —> Read More