Which is the smallest lake in India
Hundreds of human skeletons lie around a lake in the Himalayas
The small Roopkund Lake in the Indian part of the Himalayas has been a mystery to researchers since its discovery. In 1942, hundreds of skeletons of people whose origins and descent were previously unknown were found there. Genetic research has now brought new insights into the dead and their origins. This is the result of a study that was recently published in the journal "Nature Communications".
The Roopkund Lake, also often called Skeleton Lake because of the many human remains, lies at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters. When the snow melts, hundreds of human remains are found there every year.
People lived at different times
Since its discovery, there has been much speculation about the dead in and around the small mountain lake. Researchers from India, the USA and Germany have now examined 38 skeletons using isotope analyzes and the radiocarbon method. For the first time, the research gives indications of who the people were and where they came from.
The results are surprising: apparently, the dead did not all die at the same time. The skeletons are people from at least two different cultural groups who lived at different times.
There are even several hundred years between the examined dead. According to the researchers, the skeletons are from both men and women, but some died in the 8th century and the other in the 18th century.
The cause of death remains unknown
The research showed that the people from the 18th century all died at the same time, while the deaths of the people from the 8th century lay several years to decades.
Furthermore, DNA analyzes showed that the deceased were of different origins. The older skeletons are all of South Asian descent, while the newer ones - except for one skeleton that is of Southeast Asian descent - come from the Mediterranean region.
Since the lake lies on a well-known pilgrimage route, the researchers assume that the deceased from the 8th century are believers who perished on their journey. There is still no plausible explanation for the other skeletons. The cause of death is also still unknown.
Since only one sample has been examined so far, it is still unclear whether all skeletons come from these two periods. There may be other groups that have not yet been investigated. Further research is to follow.
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