Archaeologists discover world's oldest human victim of shark attack in Japan

Archaeologists discover world

© APA | Shark

# 23 July 2021 22:49 (UTC +04:00)

To date, a 1,000-year-old skeleton of a fisherman in Puerto Rico has been considered the oldest victim of a shark attack, APA reports citing Sputnik.

An international team of archaeologists has discovered the partial human skeleton with a sheared off right leg and left hand that was attacked by a shark around 3,000 years ago. They analysed the man’s partial skeleton excavated around a century ago at a village cemetery near Japan’s Seto Inland Sea and found that he is the oldest known human victim of a shark attack.

The team compiled the findings and reported them in the August Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. The researchers also stated that radiocarbon dating places his death between 3,391 and 3,031 years ago.

Archaeologist J. Alyssa White of the University of Oxford and her colleagues documented at least 790 gouges, punctures, and other types of bite damages. However, the injuries were confined to the man’s arms, legs, pelvis, and ribs. The researchers also prepared a 3-D model of these injuries which indicated that the victim first lost his left hand trying to protect himself from the shark.

However, the consequent bites destroyed major leg arteries ultimately leading to death.

"Numerous shark teeth found at some Jōmon sites suggest that sharks were hunted, perhaps by drawing them to blood while fishing at sea. But unprovoked shark attacks would have been incredibly rare as sharks do not tend to target humans as prey," White said.
The study also revealed the Tsukumo site near Japan’s Seto Inland is also a place where modern shark attacks have been reported.

"The most likely species of shark responsible for the attack is either a white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) or a tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)," the study revealed.

The team also suggested in the study that his body was recovered and he was buried according to normative Jōmon funerary practices in a shell-mound.

"This helped to preserve his body in such excellent condition that we can understand in great detail the unusual and tragic circumstances leading to his death," the researchers stated.