Oldest Tsunami Victim Discovered

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A 6,000-year-old human skull discovered in a swamp almost a century ago could be from the world’s earliest known tsunami victim.

In 1929, Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld stumbled on a partial human skull in a mangrove outside the coastal town of Aitape in Papua New Guinea.

Originally thought to belong to Homo erectus, the skull was subsequently dated to the mid-Holocene period.

New research into the area the skull was buried in suggests the individual fell victim to a violent ancient tsunami.

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In 1929, Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld stumbled on a partial human skull (pictured) in a mangrove outside the coastal town of Aitape in Papua New Guinea. New research into the area the skull was buried suggests the individual fell victim to a violent ancient tsunami

THE ANCIENT SKULL

In 1929, Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld stumbled on a partial human skull in a mangrove outside the coastal town of Aitape in Papua New Guinea.

Originally thought to belong to Homo erectus, the skull was subsequently dated to the mid-Holocene period, about 6,000 years ago.

Researchers found diatoms – small single-cell organisms that live in water and are sensitive environmental indicators – and used those to learn more about the water conditions at the time.

High-energy water combined with chemical signatures and specific sediment grain sizes all indicate the presence of a tsunami at the time the skull was buried.

Dr Golitko said it’s possible that the skull was buried before and it was washed out as the tsunami came across but, based on observations of modern tsunamis, his team don’t think that’s likely. 

Dr Mark Golitko, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame in the US, worked with colleagues from the Field Museum in Chicago and institutes in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea to study the skull.

Dr Golitko and his team went back to where the skull was found, near a place called Paniri Creek, to analyse the soil and strata for clues.

He said: ‘Hossfeld hadn’t really sampled anything; he just did a field description and took the skull out and that was it.

‘What we were doing was actually going in and sampling the sediments to bring back for lab analysis that would tell us a lot more about the age and depositional history there.

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About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).

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