Uncovering a murder — 430,000 years ago

The first known murder was just as brutal as any other. The attacker smashed the victim twice in the head, leaving matching holes above the victim’s left eyebrow. The dead body was then dropped down a 43-foot shaft into a cave—where it lay for nearly half a million years…

Paleontologists pieced together the 430,000-year-old skull and reported their forensic analysis Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE. Injuries to the skull represent the oldest direct evidence of homicide, the scientists say…

The…skull comes from the Sima de los Huesos, or “Pit of Bones,” site in Spain, where paleontologists have found the remains of at least 28 individuals…Exactly what to call the Sima de los Huesos people has been debated, but Nohemi Sala, lead author of the study, and her colleagues identify them as members of the species Homo heidelbergensis, an early human ancestor that gave rise to the Neanderthals.

Read on. The forensics are good enough for Inspector Morse.

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