The World’s Oldest Known Homicide Victim Has Been Found

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Paleontologists in Spain have discovered what is now the oldest known homicide victim, killed some 430,000 years ago. National Geographic passes along that the scientists, announcing the find this week in the journal PLOS ONE, report that after reassembling a skull they found and conducting a forensic analysis, it appears the unlucky Homo heidelbergensis was struck twice in the head with a blunt instrument, the second blow being the dead giveaway that it was “ancient lethal interpersonal violence.” The pre-human’s body was then tossed down a shaft into a cave, which scientists now lovingly call the Sima de los Huesos (“Pit of Bones”), as they have found the remains of at least 28 very ancient people inside. The previous oldest-known homicide victim was a Neanderthal who took a spear to the chest about 50,000 years ago. Regarding a possible motive, the study’s lead author Nohemi Sala says they don’t know, but that “life was hard in the past.” Scientists also don’t know how long it will take CBS to develop a new crime-scene procedural inspired by the discovery.