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Modern Mysteries

Mystery of India's 16,500ft-high 'lake of skeletons' still intrigues

By T.K. Randall
July 2, 2024 · Comment icon 8 comments
Roopkund Lake.
Roopkund Lake photographed in 2014. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Schwiki
High up in the Himalayan mountains lies a mysterious and macabre spectacle - a lake filled with skeletons.
Known as Roopkund Lake, this intriguing enigma is situated 16,500ft above sea level in India's Uttarakhand region on the border with Nepal.

Once a year, when the snow and water sufficiently recede, the lake reveals its contents - a huge pile of skeletal remains believed to be those of more than 500 individuals.

First discovered in 1942, these unidentified skeletons are now thought to have belonged to people from several different parts of the world and have been dated back up to 1,200 years.
DNA testing has also shown that, surprisingly, around one-third of them were from the Mediterranean - many thousands of miles from the Himalayas.

Exactly what happened to them and how they ended up here, however, remains unclear.

"It may be even more of a mystery than before [the skeletons were DNA tested]," Harvard geneticist David Reich told The Atlantic.

"It was unbelievable, because the type of ancestry we find in about a third of the individuals is so unusual for this part of the world."

Source: The Sun | Comments (8)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Eldorado 10 days ago
Ancient DNA from the skeletons of Roopkund Lake reveals Mediterranean migrants in India 2019 research paper at Nature dot com
Comment icon #2 Posted by Piney 10 days ago
The Greeks grabbed onto Hinduism and Buddhism after Alexander's invasion and the Ptolemaic Kingdoms emerged near the area. Mystery solved....  
Comment icon #3 Posted by ercbreeze 10 days ago
Piney, I think you meant the Seleucus Kingdom.  Ptolemy I ruled Egypt and the Gaza strip areas.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Piney 10 days ago
I stand corrected. Thanks!  Seleucid Kingdoms.  
Comment icon #5 Posted by Abramelin 9 days ago
Comment icon #6 Posted by Robotic Jew 9 days ago
I was mislead by this headline....I thought the skeletons were piled up 16,500 feet.  I need to go back to bed.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Bavarian Raven 9 days ago
I thought they said (in previous research) that they were likely caught in the open by a massive hailstorm (think baseball sized ), and pummelled to death. (Maybe this article says that too, it won’t open on my phone for some reason). 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Robotic Jew 9 days ago
That sounds terrifying!

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