Oldest Human Death by Meteorite


Archivists Find the Oldest Record of Human Death by Meteorite

by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com

In recorded history, Anne Hodges is the only member of humankind so cosmically unlucky as to have been struck by a meteorite—that is, until now. Archivists in Turkey have discovered what they say may be the first credible historical account of a person being hit and killed by a meteorite on August 22, 1888 in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, reports Sid Perkins for Science.

The extraterrestrial impact blasted into a hillside and left one man dead and another paralyzed, according to the research, published this week in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

While claims of people being killed by meteorites date back to biblical times, none of them had enough accompanying documentation to satisfy historians, according to the researchers.

A recent example that didn’t end up passing muster came in 2016 when Indian newspapers reported a bus driver had been killed by an alleged meteorite that struck a college campus, reported Christine Hauser of the New York Times in 2016. No meteorite shower was observed or predicted at the time of the purported impact, and as experts from NASA pored over the photographic evidence they came to the conclusion that the incident was more consistent with a land-based explosion, reported the Times.

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