This Week In History, May 14 – 20

Published May 19, 2017
Updated March 19, 2018

Dinosaur "mummy" unearthed, WWII love letter recovered, ancient bracelet found, nun's murder reopened, T. rex's bite force measured.

Dinosaur ‘Mummy’ Unveiled With Skin And Guts Intact

Nodosaur Head

Robert Clark/National Geographic

You can’t even see its bones, yet scientists are hailing it as perhaps the best-preserved dinosaur specimen ever unearthed. That’s because, 110 million years later, those bones remain covered by the creature’s intact skin and armor.

Indeed, the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada recently unveiled a dinosaur so well-preserved that many have taken to calling it not a fossil, but an honest-to-goodness “dinosaur mummy.”

With the creature’s skin, armor, and even some of its guts intact, researchers are astounded at its nearly unprecedented level of preservation.

“We don’t just have a skeleton,” Caleb Brown, a researcher at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, told National Geographic. “We have a dinosaur as it would have been.”

Read more here about the Nodosaur fossil.

WWII Veteran Finally Receives Love Letter Sent 72 Years Ago

Wwii Love Letter Christoffersen

Virginia and Rolf Christoffersen

Rolf Christoffersen received many loving letters from his wife, Virginia, during his time fighting for the Allies with the Norwegian Navy.

But one note from May 1945 never reached its destination overseas.

Instead, it lay hidden in a crack in the family’s old New Jersey home for more than seven decades — the yellowing envelope covered in purple “Return to Sender” stamps.

It was recently uncovered by the house’s new owner, Melissa Fahy, who came across the long-lost treasure during renovations.

“When I read it, I just couldn’t believe the love and admiration she had for her husband,” Fahy told NBC New York. “It was really sweet to see that long-distance love.”

Discover the rest of the story here.

Researchers Find Oldest-Ever Bracelet Alongside Extinct Human Species

Oldest Jewelry Ever Found

Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Vera SalnitskayaThe Denisovan bracelet made of chlorite

A fragmented green bracelet was recently confirmed to be the 40,000-year-old creation of an ancient hominid species.

The accessory was found in 2008, in a cave alongside the bones of a wooly mammoth and the shockingly-preserved pinkie finger bone of a little girl who, scientists later determined, was not a human at all.

After extensive DNA tests, researchers concluded that the girl had brown hair, eyes and skin and was between 5 and 7 years old when she died.

They also found that she belonged to a previously unknown hominid species, which they named Denisovan, after the Siberian cave where the remains were discovered.

The Denisovans — or Homo altaiensis — are a lesser-known hominid species believed to have migrated from Africa, along with Neanderthals and modern-day humans, between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago.

Though little else is known about the species, the bracelet suggests they were much more advanced than originally suspected.

Dig deeper here.

Dead Priest’s DNA Could Solve Nun’s Decades-Old Murder

Priest Murders Nun Og

Catherine Ann Cesnik and Rev. Joseph A. Maskell

Sister Catherine Ann Cesnik’s decomposing body was found in 1970.

When a father and son out hunting in Maryland mistakenly happened upon the corpse, the 26-year-old nun had already been missing for almost two months.

Nearly five decades later, Cesnik’s murder remains unsolved. But Baltimore County Police detectives think one dead Catholic priest’s DNA might hold the missing clue.

Which is why, on February 28, they dug up his grave.

Delve further into the mystery here.

Scientists Figure Out Exactly How Strong A ‘Bone-Crushing’ T. Rex Bite Was

Tyrannosaurus Rex Bite

Wikimedia Commons

It seems obvious that you wouldn’t want to get caught between the banana-sized chompers of the history’s most famous dinosaur.

Until recently, though, scientists were unsure of just how thoroughly a Tyrannosaurus rex could mash your bones into pulp.

Thanks to a new paper in Scientific Reports, that mystery has been solved.

See more here.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.