Human bone found in Minnesota River determined to be nearly 8,000 years old

A bone found in the Minnesota River last fall is human and is nearly 8,000 years old, according to the Renville County Sheriff’s Office.

The bone was found by a pair of kayakers south of Sacred Heart in September 2021.  It was sent to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office, which determined the bone came from a human.

Bone found in the Minnesota River near Sacred Heart. Photo from the Renville County Sheriff’s Office

The bone was then sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to Renville County.  A forensic anthropologist from the FBI examined the bone and concluded it had come from a young, adult male that had a depressed area in the skull consistent with blunt force trauma.

“Through Carbon-14 analysis, preliminary information shows this individual would have been alive between 5,500 to 6,000 BCE (Before Common Era),” a Facebook post from the Renville County Sheriff’s Office says.  “That dates this bone almost 8,000 years!”

The post goes on to describe how the Carbon-14 review revealed the man would have had a heavy marine diet or a diet high in maize, pearl millet, or sorghum, which is outside the range of the American diet.

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