Affidavit of Robson Bonnichsen, Ph.D.
I, Robson Bonnichsen, being first duly sworn, do depose and state as follows:
1. I am one of the plaintiffs in the above-entitled case. My professional qualifications are described in earlier affidavits filed with the Court. See attachments to Plaintiffs' Motion for Order Granting Access to Study.
2. I have examined CT scan images of the Kennewick skeleton generated from the computer data that defendants were ordered to provide to plaintiffs. Based upon my review of these images, I believe that some of the government's interpretations about the skeleton and its taphonomic history may be incorrect. These questions cannot be resolved without further examination of the skeleton.
3. Among other things, I am not convinced that the projectile
point in the skeleton's hip is a Cascade point as previously
reported. There appears to be a fracture spall (i.e., breakage
scar) at one end of the projectile point. When a stone projectile
point impacts with a hard object such as bone, its tip will often
collapse and shatter into one or more pieces. When this occurs,
a characteristic scar(s) or spall(s) may be left on the blade
of the point, leaving the blade with "tip" end that
can appear semi-rounded in an X-ray or low-quality photograph.
In addition, the CT scan images of the skeleton's hip indicate
that the trajectory of the projectile point may have left a scatter
of minute stone debris inside the bone. If the foregoing interpretations
are correct, then the other end of the projectile point opposite
the spall and stone debris would be its base. Although it has
been reported that the projectile point has a "rounded"
base, it appears to me that the base is straight which is not
characteristic of bases of Cascade points. Another possible
alternative explanation is that the projectile point originally
had a stemmed base which broke off at a right angle to the blade
upon impact with the hip bone. Stemmed bases are also not characteristic
of Cascade points. The CT scan images that I examined lack sufficient
detail, however, to reach a final conclusion about the projectile
point's original shape. They also lack sufficient resolution
to determine its flaking pattern or to confirm whether the edges
of the projectile point are serrated as previously reported.
Only examination of the skeleton and the taking of higher resolution
images can resolve those questions.
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