This man was killed by a shark attack 3,000 years ago


When archaeologists were studying the 3,000-year-old skeletal remains of a man dug up near Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, they were confused by the nearly 800 serrated injuries they found to the bones. Eventually, they determined that the most likely cause of the v-shaped cuts was a shark—probably a tiger or great white. It’s the oldest evidence ever discovered of a shark attack on a person. From CNN:

“There are very few known examples of shark attacks in the archaeological record,” [University of Oxford archaeologist Rick Schulting told CNN, adding that the earliest concrete example the team could find came from a late pre-Columbian site in Puerto Rico, dated to just before 1000 AD.

“The main reason that so few cases are known is simply because they were so rare,” Schulting said. “Even today, with so many more people in the world, only a handful of lethal shark attacks occur each year.[…]

“One or more sharks – we suspect one but can’t be certain about that – attacked the man either while he was already in the water, or perhaps he lost his balance and fell, or was pulled overboard if the shark was on a fishing line – this would not have been a small shark,” he added.

Schulting said there were “so many tooth marks all over the skeleton” that the attack must have lasted “for some time.”

The man’s body was retrieved soon after the attack, and he was buried at the ceremony. He was also missing his right leg, and his left leg was placed on top of his body, researchers added.

image: Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Kyoto University

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