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Kennewick Man of North America
An online article by Douglas Preston in the Smithsonian Magazine - The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets - discusses one of the most important human skeletons ever found in North America.
Photo Credit: Sculpted bust by StudioEIS, based on forensic facial reconstruction by sculptor Amanda Danning. Photograph by Brittany Tatchell
Kennewick Man is the name for the skeletal remains of a prehistoric man found on a bank of the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington in 1996. The skeleton is near-complete, and bone tests have shown it to date from 7300 to 7600 B.C.
A stone projectile was found lodged in the man's hip bone. His anatomical features were quite different from those of modern Native Americans and his relationship to other ancient people is uncertain.
The finding of the skeleton triggered a nine-year legal clash between scientists, the US government and Native American tribes who claim Kennewick Man as one of their ancestors. In February 2004, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cultural link between any of the Native American tribes and the Kennewick Man was not genetically justified, allowing scientific study of the remains to continue. The discovery of Kennewick Man, along with other ancient skeletons, has furthered scientific debate over the exact origin and history of early Native American people.
According to Preston's article, 'the skull, while clearly old, did not look Native American. At first glance, Chatters thought it might belong to an early pioneer or trapper. But the teeth were cavity-free (signaling a diet low in sugar and starch) and worn down to the roots - a combination characteristic of prehistoric teeth.' That, and the stone spear point embedded in the hip bone pointed to a prehistoric scenario, but an enigmatic one.
'Thus began the saga of Kennewick Man, one of the oldest skeletons ever found in the Americas and an object of deep fascination from the moment it was discovered. It is among the most contested set of remains on the continents as well. Now, though, after two decades, the dappled, pale brown bones are at last about to come into sharp focus, thanks to a long-awaited, monumental scientific publication next month co-edited by the physical anthropologist Douglas Owsley, of the Smithsonian Institution. No fewer than 48 authors and another 17 researchers, photographers and editors contributed to the 680-page publication 'Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigatio of an Ancient American Skeleton'(Texas A&M University Press), the most complete analysis of a Paleo-American skeleton ever done.
A further understanding of the early colonisation of North America can be gained from the Journey of Mankind's Genetic Map, based on the research of professor Stephen Oppenheimer:
For the new publication visit: