​Kennewick Man, an ambassador from the past

A life on the water is consistent with Kennewick Man's diet, as determined by the chemical signature discovered in his bones.

"This man is a marine mammal hunter . . . You find that this man is heavily dependent on seals," said Owsley. Also, "he's got lots of salmon in his diet."

His teeth were worn down, and show no sign of cavities.

His enormously strong right arm suggests that he hunted with a spear.

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Texas A&M University Press

One of Owsley's biggest challenges was re-creating what Kennewick Man actually looked like. Sculptors took months to build a likeness based on the shape of his skull and archival photos from Asian coastal people.

Native Americans are still fighting for the right to bury Kennewick Man. But the federal government is holding on to his remains until the dispute between the tribes and the scientists can be resolved.

Doug Owsley believes that further study will help explain how Kennewick Man lived and died, and why this traveling hunter -- who is believed to have spent much of his life on the central Alaskan coast -- was buried hundreds of miles away in the interior of what is now the state of Washington.

"I feel like the skeleton is just beginning to talk to us, and we need to carry on the conversation," he said.

A conversation with a man who hasn't spoken a word in 9,000 years.


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