The skull of the Paleolithic man shows a large depressed fracture.

Two head wounds on the fossilized skull of Paleolithic man suggest he died from the trauma, perhaps in a violent fight with another person, researchers reported in PLOS One on July 3. The skull was found in a cave in South Transylvania in 1941 and dates back about 33,000 years ago.

E.F. Kranioti et al., “State of the art forensic techniques reveal evidence of interpersonal violence ca. 30,000 years ago,” PLOS One, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0216718, 2019

Chia-Yi Hou is an intern at The Scientist. Email her at

Interested in reading more?

paleolithic skull fossilized man injuries head wounds murdered violence ancient

The Scientist ARCHIVES

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?