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New wrangle over Kennewick bones

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posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 10:56 AM
The legal battle over the ancient bones of Kennewick Man has been won by the scientists, but they now face a new wrangle over access to the remains.
The 9,300-year-old skeleton is among the most complete specimens of its period known from the Americas.

Four Native American tribes that sought to re-bury the bones have announced they will not be taking their fight to the US Supreme Court.

But they still regard the skeleton as an ancestor and call it "ancient one".

Again we find that politics come into religeon and cultural beliefs and try and ruin things.

Related Links

Kennewick man intro

tribal wins bones

there are loads of links to the Kennewick man Via Google or the above links...interesting topic and personal discussions very welcome

ps...mods...if done already...u know the drill.

[edit on 21-7-2004 by Gryffen]

posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 11:31 AM
I can see their point, would you want your great grandfathers bones dug up and put on display? With todays technology, couldnt we do a full 3-D scan head to toe for the scientists and rebury the bones?

posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 12:23 PM
That is exactly what many universities are doing with their skeleton collections.

The problem is, tech is advancing so fast that next year there will be a new test to run that you didn't think to do before you reburied the bones, especially on one of such import as this set of remains.

Lately, osteologists have been measuring bone density to study nutrition among ancient people, as well as getting blood-types from the marrow.

This is of crucial importance with Kennewick man, and could affect the way we battle viruses like aids.

It is generally understood (or was, when I was doing osteology) that America was originally populated from a small group of about 20 individuals. Now, in an Asian population of that size, you ought to have all three blood groups represented. And it seems like there were A,B, and O in the Americas originally.

But among living tribes, 80% of native Americans are A. If I remember right B is unknown, and the two pockets of O are among the blackfeet of North America and the Yamomano groups of South America. Both of those nations were so exlcusive and fierce that there was probably no interbreeding with their neighbors for thousands of years.

So, there was some genetic event that removed all of the O and B from the population, except for two ethnic groups which kept to themselves. The big question is, was this a disease, and does it still exist today?

If it does, this could pose a serious threat to everyone alive. Even if the original disease is extinct, understanding it could save or at least greatly help our species.

It is more than a matter of one or another culture's history; it could potentially impact the lives and health of people living today, least of all Native Americans.

As a matter of fact, I don't mind the bodies of my ancestors being studied with respect. When relatives have died, we have always approved autopsies to determine the cause of an unkown death.

posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 12:26 PM
I agree...there is two types of archaelogy...intrusive and discovery...think this one has just gone past these two and straight into greed..1st person to discover wins and no respect for cultural and religeous beliefs.

The main thing is politics are gettin in the way again...and the fact that Science is against culture. Here is the two arguments:


There to explore the possibilities of where this man came from....when he lived and what he did for a in hunter etc.

to do this they have to perform medical tests and procedures including:

Full body CT and MRI scans
Bone and dental work ups *a lot of DNA is in teeth for best results*
Xrays *contaminating the bodies with radiation*
Possible Bone Marrow tests for dieases *destructive*

I agree that it would be amazing results but the damage and even destruction to the body would be a even bigger crime.


they just want there ancestor back!!

Its there heritage...there history and cultural beliefs that are gettin downtrodden and there dead that is gettin desicrated.

its a bad mix of problems cause it involves the human race but also racial, religeous and cultural belief equal rights.

whats ur opinion?

ps...sorry if it dont make sense...jet lag

posted on Jul, 21 2004 @ 09:58 PM
With NAGPRA, there's no way of avoiding a politcal mess these days - not that I see the Act as a step-back in morality, but it is one more hole the archaeologists have to dig, so to speak.....

Many details can be gathered from bones without these tests....muscle striations left on the bones can help to indicate their hobbies and tasks and many times diesease is left imprinted on the outter layers of the bone taking a very small sample they can test for pollen variations and discover almost everywhere the Kennewick man travelled - I think after testing there would be little damage to the bones, apart from marrow testing, which if done properlly will not destroy the entire bone.

I think what's most important though, is to understand that an archaeologist is not just an training they receive equal development in the four fields of anthropology - cultural, physical, archaeology, and linguistics - even after they specialize....and many anthropologists respect the four fields and use applied and wholistic anthropology when approaching their research - The archaeologists who will be studying Kennewick man no doubt know of his culutre, language, and his modern descendents would be impossible for them not to with this ongoing struggle

I believe the research will be done with respect to the remains, and once they are finished (they have a time limit I think), they will be returned for ritualisitc burial - I think the fact that they chose not to persue this matter further is evidence that they are willing to go along with this.....of course the phrase "willing to go along with" can be applied to much of the Native Americans' history unfortunately - I think part of me says it must be done, and the other part says it's not our choice to decide....but I'd ultimately have to choose research if given one option or the other.

posted on Jul, 29 2004 @ 05:34 AM
just a little update on the whole bone issue

The UK government has launched a consultation document to consider the repatriation of human remains held in Britain to aboriginal groups.

Thousands of ancient human parts - from hair samples to whole skeletons - have been collected by UK museums.

The latest initiative will review the report issued last year by the Working Group on Human Remains.


Me thinks this will begin the whole fight again for retrieving bones from archaeological sites and burial grounds. Also the whole 'breach of respect' and 'intrusion of ones reliegous beliefs' will come into it big style.

But im thinking, yes its nice to be able to exam the bones n skeletons etc, but cultural beliefs come first.

posted on Jul, 29 2004 @ 06:34 AM
Odd. I never get upset by seeing my ancestors bones on display in museums. Or being dug up in TV programmes. In fact, I find excavations of neolithic burial sites quite interesting.

I'm far more likely to be decended from Cheddar Man than N American Indians are to be decended from Kennewick Man.......

posted on Jul, 29 2004 @ 04:37 PM
The Kennewick Man is of European origin. Paleoanthropologists reconstructed the head and - surprise - he's a dead ringer for Patrick Stuart.

The problem that Native Americans had with the find was that the bones were of a European man, leading credence to the possibility that Europeans - not Asians who were the genetic foundation for what we know today as Native Americans - were the first to settle the North (and South) American continent.

During the Clinton administration's term, the Native American community which tends to vote Democratic found a sympathetic ear and the federal government ordered the Army's Engineering Corps to take possession of the fossils. Fortunately for science, the researchers were able to make ceramic duplicates of the bones for minimal study.

Political correctness is killing science. The entire episode on the government's part is shameful.

posted on Sep, 30 2004 @ 07:44 PM
more about the kennewick man legal woes:

Scientists Protest Senate Bill to Protect Ancient Skeleton

Scientists hoping to study the ancient skeleton known as Kennewick Man are protesting a bill by Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell that they say could block their efforts.
A two-word amendment would change an Indian graves-protection law to allow federally recognized tribes to claim ancient remains even if they cannot prove a link to a current tribe.

Scientists say the bill, if enacted, could have the effect of overturning a federal appeals court ruling that allowed them to study the 9,300-year-old bones.

this will probably go back and forth for a while more, i don't see why the indians are making such a big deal about it, it's just bones, and I am sure the scientists would treat it with respect and return it if the indians want it back.

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