Scientists have found the oldest victim of the tsunami
Scientists came to the conclusion that the skull at the age of 6 thousand years old, found in the early XX century in Papua New Guinea, belongs to the oldest of the currently known victim of the tsunami. The article was published in the journal PLoS One.
In 1929, the Australian geologist Paul Hossfeld studied mangrove forests in the coastal town Aitape in the Northern part of Papua New Guinea and came across a partially preserved human skull.
Originally, paleontologists assumed that it belonged to Homo erectus (Homo erectus), which perished not less than 143 thousand years ago.
Later, however, the bone was dated middle Holocene, a period of about 6 thousand years ago. A new study shows that the skull likely belongs to the oldest victim of the tsunami known at the moment.
Mark Golitko (Mark Golitko), an anthropologist from the University of Notre Dame, and his colleagues re-examined the remains and the area in which they were discovered. The scientists collected samples of sedimentary rocks from the shore for laboratory analysis, which helped them find out the age and history of the sediments. The researchers didn’t know where exactly, Hossfeld found the skull, however, were within 100 meters from what is described for them.
The authors found in samples of diatom algae. This is a small single-celled organisms that live in water and are very sensitive to environmental changes. Diatoms have silica shells and when they die, they sink to the bottom with him. The researchers counted the total number of algae in the sediments, and examined them under a microscope.
It became clear that sedimentary rocks contain only marine diatom (there are also freshwater) that were brought in from the ocean.
The researchers also noticed that the shells of some organisms was split — this suggests that the water had strong enough energy to damage the membrane of tiny algae.