While fishing along the Brazos River in Texas, Scott Fuller spotted a floating piece of history: an 800-year-old human femur bone.
Fuller found the bone floating about a foot from the river’s shore, local station WFAA reported, and thought it was a clue to a murder mystery. But scientific analysis determined the bone dates to between 1286 and 1398 A.D.
“I’m still wrapping my mind around it,” Fuller told WFAA.
A forensic anthropologist at the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office realized the bone was ancient, The Weatherford Democrat reported, then took a sample to a lab in Florida.
Carbon-14 dating, which estimates the age of carbon-based materials from living organisms, determined the bone’s age range with a 95.4% accuracy.
Parker County Senior Investigator Bryan Wright and Sheriff Larry Fowler both said they believe the bone belonged to a Native American, the Democrat reported.
“We believe it was the Caddo Indians that were in this area hundreds of years ago,” Fowler told the Democrat. “I’m the keeper of the bone until it’s disposed of properly — properly. We can’t just throw it away and I shall treat the Indian bone with dignity and respect.”
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Fowler told WFAA he did not know of any ancient bone discoveries in the county dating that far back.
The bone is currently being stored in an anthropological locker at the medical examiner’s office, the Democrat reported.
A week after Fueller found the femur bone in March, he spotted a human rib bone floating in the same place. But it rained after he called the medical examiner, WFAA reported, and the bone disappeared under the water.
Ancestors of the Caddo Nation were farmers whose distinctive culture dates to 900 A.D., according to the Caddo Nation’s website. They lived in what is now Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma.
Local reports did not indicate whether Texas officials contacted the Caddo Nation about the discovery.
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