Day By Day

Monday, July 11, 2005

Kennewick Man Update -- The Research Starts

The Seattle Times has a nice piece on the research team investigating Kennewick Man.

The skeleton is yielding even more information than expected, said Doug Owsley, the forensic anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institution who is leading the research team.

"This guy is really trying to help us tell his story," Owsley said. "I would not have thought we would get this level of detail."

From the shape of fractures to the color of algae stains, the scientists have been cataloging so much data that they've been able to process only two or three bones a day, Owsley said at a media briefing yesterday. But it's already clear that when the work is done, there will be answers to long-standing questions, including whether the man was buried intentionally, Owsley predicted.

"I feel we are going to be able to make strong statements, and I wasn't really sure that would be possible when we began this," he said.

Read it here.

AP report here. Includes a reference to the "European-type facial features" that caused all the initial brouhaha and from which experts have been retreating ever since. The latest speculation has been that they were related, not to European populations, but to East Asian groups like Japan's Ainu. It's interesting that a serious scholar, not just some journalist, is now reverting to the earliest characterization of the physical features as "European."

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