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8 July 2005
After 9,300 years, is Kennewick Man ready to 'talk'?

Nine years after his skeletal remains were found along the Colombia River (Washington State, USA), scientists who successfully sued for the rights to study his bones will begin analyses on Kennewick Man at  the University of Washington's Burke Museum (Seattle, WA. USA).
     And now that the courts have decided in favor of science and are allowing the study to go forward, Tribes and Native American organizations that had objected to the research as a violation of their rights and cultural beliefs, are going after (the United States) Congress for changes in the Federal laws governing the disposition of Native remains.
     In any event, the Burke Museum is hosting some of the world's foremost experts in paleoanthropology, and they will finally be getting their first look at the fractured skeleton of a muscular, middle-aged man who once roamed the Colombia Basin when it was a cool, wet environment teeming with bison, elk and deer.
     Recent facial reconstruction, based on Kennewick Man's skull has some experts saying he looks distinctly different from a typical Native American skull. A a matter of faact, Kennewick Man has an uncanny resemblance to TV actor Patrick Stewart of 'Star Trek: Next Generation'.
     Renowned Smithsonian Institute (Washington, D.C. USA) Paleoanthropologist Douglas Owsley will arrange the many unidentified fragments of the skeleton in anatomical order, and try to determine how Kennewick Man came to be in his final resting place. The other eight scientists will try to evaluate his cause of death as well as the way Kennewick Man lived his life so very long ago.
     Isn't it amazing that a 9,300 year-old man with an arrowhead embedded in his hip can still have tales to tell? What secrets is Kennewick Man ready to tell?

Sources: BBC News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer (6 July 05)

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