The oldest known shark attack victim from 3000 years ago displayed 790 traumatic injuries

Anita Durairaj

The remains of the oldest known shark attack victim were first uncovered in Japan. The skeletal remains belonged to a young, adult male who had been buried at the Tsukumo burial site.

The Tsukomo burial site is an archaeological site that was first excavated in 1915. More than 170 human skeletons were found there. Most were human remains of prehistoric hunter-gatherers.

When archaeologists examined the skeletal remains, they were puzzled that one of the skeletons displayed severe signs of having suffered violently. The skeleton was marked as Tsukumo No. 24 and displayed evidence of having 790 deep serrated injuries.

The injuries were confined to the arms, legs, chest, and abdomen.

Archaeologists compared the injuries on the skeleton and were able to rule out that they could have been caused by humans. Rather, they compared the injuries to those of ancient and modern shark attack victims. The injuries were very similar.

There were distinctive signs of bone trauma and evidence that sharp teeth had crushed, cut, and torn the body.

A shark can exert its powerful jaws to puncture, gouge and fracture the flesh. Other distinctive signs that were found included serrated striations on the bone from teeth scraping the bone.

Archaeologists believe that the Tsukumo No. 24 skeleton suffered 800 perimortem lesions. There were no signs of healing and the man would have suffered a lot of blood loss. He also most likely died shortly after he was attacked.

The man is estimated to have died between 1370 to 1010 B.C. making him the oldest known shark attack victim.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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