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November 14, 2004 7:30 PM   Subscribe

For 60 years the skeletal remains of more than 200 people, discovered in 1942 in a remote Himalaya region, have puzzled historians, scientists and archaeologists. Now they think they know what killed them around AD 840. "The only plausible explanation for so many people sustaining such similar injuries at the same time is something that fell from the sky".
posted by stbalbach (13 comments total)
"In addition to skeletons, we discovered bodies with the flesh intact, perfectly preserved in the icy ground. We could see their hair and nails as well as pieces of clothing."

i find that more interesting than the hail!
posted by mrplab at 7:36 PM on November 14, 2004

Geez...what a way to go. I'll be a bit more "respectful" of hail the next time it begins falling here.
posted by davidmsc at 8:18 PM on November 14, 2004

"The injuries were all to the top of the skull and not to other bones in the body..."

Question: wouldn't the people have broken bones in their forearms also? I mean, something is falling on the heads of people around you, and you automatically cover your head with your arms, right? Just sayin'. The hailstorm theory is cool, though, like those murders on CSI where people are stabbed with icicles.
posted by tracicle at 8:34 PM on November 14, 2004

Too bad they didn't have shields.
posted by Devils Slide at 9:01 PM on November 14, 2004

And I would think they'd show injuries elsewhere. Once they were hit on the head, they'd fall down and then the hail would start hitting other parts of their bodies, no?

But a very interesting story, regardless.
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:05 PM on November 14, 2004

tracicle, hail can happen fast. Think about the last sudden gusty rainstorm you were in where a few drops fell, and then whammo -- pouring sheets and buckets and waterfalls of rain. I imagine as they were toodle-doing along, a few light stones fell, and then the acme anvils.

But ob makes a good point too. Damn you CSI, you've made everyone brilliant criminal masterminds and incapable of reading popular science without a lot of hmmmphing.
posted by melissa may at 12:34 AM on November 15, 2004

I would think getting hit on other parts of the body better fleshed and clothed than the top of the skull would not leave as obvious injuries, especially postmortem, such as bruising and broken bones.

That is, getting hit by a fast ball in the head can kill you. Catching it in the ass just hurts.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 3:57 AM on November 15, 2004

"The skeletons are of large and rugged people," said Dr Dibyendukanti Bhattacharya of Delhi University. "They are more like the actors John Wayne or Anthony Quinn."

The Duke was offed by hailstones?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 4:59 AM on November 15, 2004

What a horrible experience that must have been - watching your family and entire community dropping all around you.
posted by orange swan at 5:11 AM on November 15, 2004

The scientists found glass bangles, indicating the presence of women....

Or drag queens.
posted by spilon at 9:29 AM on November 15, 2004

"They are more like the actors John Wayne or Anthony Quinn."

No, silly, it was Ronald Coleman and Edward Everett Horton!
posted by briank at 10:17 AM on November 15, 2004

Getting hit by a fast ball in the head can kill you. Catching it in the ass just hurts.

[brain flashes momentarily to a goat.cx-like scenario]

Great. Now I'm going to have to take steel wool to my brain.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:46 AM on November 15, 2004

Are they more Tibetan or more Indian ? If Tibetan I would be fascinated by their equipment and outfit at the end of the Tibetan empire.

The last statement is misleading. Among "Mongoloids" there is much variation; if they are actually Tibetan there'd be nothing out of the ordinary. I wonder how much the person quoted is affected by the politics of the subcontinent.

Without data on facial construction and height there can be no conclusion. He's just giving a cheeky opinion. Most people are not especially tall, and that includes Indians. And Europeans
posted by firestorm at 12:36 PM on November 15, 2004

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