This Man Drowned 5,000 Years Ago — How Do We Know That?

Coast of Chile, Atacama Desert

The undeniable beauty of modern technology is it allows us to analyze historical findings more accurately than ever before. Using a modern forensic technique, scientists were able to identify the cause of death of ancient human remains from the north coast of Chile. The remains belong to a man who most likely drowned more than 5,000 years ago in the cold waters of the Pacific.

The “Diatom Test”

Although it’s been a minute since archaeologists found the ancient remains, they weren’t able to properly investigate them until recently. Researchers used the so-called “diatom test” to uncover the mystery of the drowned man who was found in a 5,500-year-old grave at Capoca 1, an archaeological site on the northern coast of Chile’s Atacama Desert.

Diatom under a microscope

The “diatom test” is used to identify victims of drowning by relying on what happens to the body in the process — the way inhaled water ruptures the lungs and gets pumped around the body, including the tiny capillaries that go into the marrow through the bones. It’s that marrow that forensic scientists examine to look for diatoms — microscopic algae — that are typically found in people who drowned.

A Drowned Fisherman From Five Millennia Ago

While looking at the diatoms of the ancient man in Chile, researchers discovered that while his remains didn’t contain fossilized diatoms, there were other types of fossilized parasite eggs, sediments, and marine algae that prove the man died by drowning.

The human remains of a drowned fisherman, Chile, Capoca 1 site

The second question scientists wanted to answer was whether the man died in an ancient tsunami or another incident. When looking at two other sets of remains found near the fisherman, researchers concluded that there was most likely a fishing accident that led the man to drown in the cold Pacific waters.

Because of the bone structure and the rather strange burial, scientists are certain that the drowned man was a fisherman.

A New Study Shows That Exercising Does Not Lead to Arthritis In the Knee

According to new research from the University of Oxford, there is no reason to link exercise and developing arthritis in the knee. This became evident after a meta-analysis of six global studies with over 5,000 participants, of which some had arthritis in the knee, and some didn’t. They were followed for periods of five to twelve years, and the gathered data showed that adults over 45 were mostly free of risk when it came to recreational activities.

Recreational Exercise, Sport, Running, Cycling, and Swimming Do Not Cause Arthritis of the Knee

A New Study Shows That Exercising Does Not Lead to Arthritis In the Knee While this recent study found that recreational exercise involving cycling, swimming, running, or sports with little to no impact on the knee will not cause arthritis, occupations that involve heavy physical work, whole-body vibration, kneeling, and repetitive movements should be considered risky. The researchers at the University of Oxford have stated that the study was the first of its kind, assessing the relationship between physical exercise, the calories burned during activity, and osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis Is the Most Common form of Arthritis Among Adults

Apparently, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is more common in women and people of older age. Obesity is another one of the common risk factors related to the disease. According to Dr. Thomas Perry from the University of Oxford, the recent findings suggest that whole-body, physiological energy expenditure related to sports, walking, and cycling activities is not directly associated with arthritis of the knee. Also, time spent in recreational physical activity should not be associated with incident osteoarthritis.

Arthritis of the KneeNow that scientists know that the time spent doing physical activity and the amount of exercise is not a cause for the development of knee osteoarthritis, clinicians can feel better about prescribing physical activity for health. The evidence can also encourage more people to go out and exercise without worrying about arthritis.

The study from the University of Oxford was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology and accepted for publication after undergoing full peer review.