Questions for “Skeletons point to world’s oldest known shark attacks”

skeleton of an ancient shark attack victim at an excavation site

This roughly 6,000-year-old skeleton of a teenage boy from Peru appears to represent the oldest known case of a human killed by a shark.

J. Quilter

To accompany “Skeletons point to world’s oldest known shark attacks


Before Reading:

1.  Scientists often study the skeletal remains of people who lived long ago. What types of things can they learn from such remains?

During Reading:

1.  When did the oldest known shark-attack fatality in Japan take place? How did scientists determine how long ago it occurred?

2.  What is the oldest known shark-attack fatality in the world? When did it occur and when was it first reported?

3.  How did J. Alyssa White and her colleagues determine an ancient Jōmon man was killed by a shark?

4.  Why does her team think that the Jōmon people hunted sharks?

5.  Where did Robert Benfer and Jeffrey Quilter discover their skeleton with signs of a death by shark attack? Where did they first report it? Why might most people have missed that report?

6.  How was the shark attack victim’s body at Paloma dealt with by its community, long long ago?

After Reading: 

1.  Shark attacks often make news, even far from where they occurred. Why do you think that happens? (Hint: Which species is usually considered a top predator?)