Remains of 500 Humans Found in 'Lake of Bones,' So Remote It Takes 5 Days to Hike There


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

A 1942 archeological discovery at a lake in India left researchers stunned.

In Roopkund Lake, located near the country’s border with Nepal, a forest ranger stumbled across a startling scene.

Human bones were found to be strewn across the lake, leading it to be called the “Skeleton Lake” or “Lake of Bones.” Researchers believe they belong to at least 500 different human beings. Scientists believe as many as 400 more bodies may still be buried somewhere nearby, The U.S. Sun reported.

The cold and secluded area takes hikers roughly five days to reach.

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Due to the rough and freezing weather conditions and difficult terrain, some theories indicate the bodies are the result of a perilous pilgrimage gone wrong.

Though this mystery has stumped scientists and researchers for decades, a 2019 study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications added some much-needed context for those looking to uncover exactly what happened.

For the study, scientists tested the DNA of the bodies and were able to split the bodies up into “three distinct groups.”

Some of the bodies are likely ancestors of modern-day South Asians. Others (most surprisingly) are of Eastern Mediterranean descent, and the third group — one body tested for the study — is likely from Southeast Asia.

Will researchers ever solve this mystery?

The bodies were also carbon-dated for the study, answering the question of how long they had been there.

The results, however, may have created even more questions about the mysterious scene.

The test dated many bones at around 800 AD and many others at around 1800 AD.

That’s right: Two large groups of bodies discovered in the lake are roughly 1,000 years different in age.

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Harvard geneticist David Reich certainly believes the discovery adds more to the mystery than subtracts from it.

“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,” he told The Atlantic.

At least one anthropologist, The University of Pennsylvania’s Kathleen Morrison, believed the findings to be in line with what we now know about the history of the region.

According to Morrison, a Greek kingdom (i.e. a people of Mediterranean descent) did exist in India around 180 BC.

“The fact that there’s some unknown group of Mediterranean European people is not really a big revelation,” she said, according to the Sun.

“I suspect that they’re aggregated there, that local people put them in the lake. When you see a lot of human skeletons, usually it’s a graveyard.”

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Michael wrote for a number of entertainment news outlets before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter. He now manages the writing and reporting teams, overseeing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of Manager of Writing and Reporting. His responsibilities now include managing and directing the production of commentary, news and original reporting content.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
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