Fossil reconstruction gives hints on how to get away with homicide, Pleistocene-style
Javier Trueba/Madrid Scientific Films
It’s a classic murder mystery: no motive, no weapon, no suspect. Just a body, dumped in a remote location with fatal head injuries. It would be standard fare for an episode of CSI — except that it happened 430,000 years ago. That makes it the earliest documented case of homicide, researchers report May 27 in PLOS ONE.
The victim spent almost half a million years entombed in an underground cavern called Sima de los Huesos, or “Pit of Bones,” in northern Spain. Since the 1970s, researchers have unearthed nearly 7,000 bone fragments from at least 28 individuals of the Homo genus (SN: 7/26/14, p. 8). And now they’ve uncovered the first evidence of foul play.
A skull known as Cranium 17 belonged to an otherwise healthy