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CSI: Middle Pleistocene

时间: 2015年05月29日 | 作者: | 来源: 未知

The first murder victim in the Bible is Abel, taken out by his brother Cain. And now we have what looks to be the earliest known homicide to be confirmed by scientists—a new study concludes that human remains found at an archeological site in northern Spain are from someone who was bludgeoned to death about 430,000 years ago. The findings are in the journal PLoS ONE. [Nohemi Sala et al, Lethal Interpersonal Violence in the Middle Pleistocene]

 

The researchers pieced together 52 skull fragments found in an underground cave. Two holes above the left eye socket are especially diagnostic—a blow that would create either hole would probably be deadly. And the lack of any signs of healing around the holes implies either that the impacts were lethal, or occurred after death. The absence of any cut marks on the skull helps rule out postmortem cannibalism or rituals that could have caused the observed damage.

 

The discovery of the body in a cave could mean that the victim was moved there. The find would thus be evidence for ancient burial practices—unless the murderer was just hiding the body.

 

This exceedingly cold case crime scene investigation shows that, even before the emergence of modern humans some 200,000 years ago, violence and murder were a part of life. The perpetrator’s remains remain at large.

 

—Dina Fine Maron

 

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]