An ancient skull dating back more than 6,000 years may have belonged to the earliest known human victim of a tsunami, scientists say.
“The geological similarities between the sediments at the place where the skull was found and sediments laid down during the 1998 tsunami that hit this same coastline have made us realize that human populations in this area have been affected by these massive inundations for thousands of years.”
“If we are right about how this person had died … we have dramatic proof that living by the sea isn’t always a life of beautiful golden sunsets and great surfing conditions,” said its co-author John Terrell, Regenstein curator of Pacific anthropology at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Terrell, who has conducted extensive research in Papua New Guinea, also noted that the skull might help convince skeptics “that all of us on earth must take climate change and rising sea levels seriously.”
“Many people in the world today face the threat of rising sea levels and (the) increasing numbers and power of climatic events, like tsunamis,” added Marta Mirazon Lahr.
From the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies at the University of Cambridge, noting that almost 80% of the world’s population today lives near the coast.