This Week In History News, Jun. 20 – 26

Published June 25, 2021
Updated June 28, 2021

Previously unknown human ancestor found, the Zodiac Killer's ciphers potentially solved, a Black World War II veteran finally awarded the Purple Heart.

Scientists Discover A Previously Unknown Human Ancestor — With Giant Teeth And No Chin

Unknown Human Ancestor

Tel Aviv UniversityPieces of a Nesher Ramla Homo skull, which was discovered in Israel.

First found in 2010 near Ramla, Israel, these prehistoric fossils have mystified experts for over a decade. But now, they’ve finally figured out what they’re looking at: a previously unknown human ancestor.

Unlike modern people, this ancient human had no chin, very large teeth, and a noticeably flat skull. And it’s estimated to be anywhere between 120,000 and 140,000 years old.

Even more shocking, it might upend what we know about mankind’s family tree. Since this ancestor resembles pre-Neanderthal groups found in Europe, some experts believe it may be the source of the European Neanderthal.

Learn more about this fascinating find here.

French Engineer Claims To Have Finally Cracked The Zodiac Killer’s Last Two Unsolved Ciphers

Zodiac Killer Cipher

Public DomainCipher Z32, which a French engineer claims to have cracked.

In the 1960s and ’70s, the Zodiac Killer terrorized California. This mysterious serial killer was linked to at least five deaths — but he claimed to have been responsible for more than 30 murders.

He even taunted reporters at The San Francisco Chronicle — and sent them mind-boggling ciphers to make them guess who he was. While two of the ciphers have since been solved, the other two have continued to puzzle experts. But now, a French engineer has claimed that he finally cracked them.

Find out more about this discovery — and why some are skeptical — here.

A Black World War II Veteran Was Finally Awarded The Purple Heart — 76 Years After Racism Stopped Him From Getting It

Ozzie Fletcher

Army News ServiceOzzie Fletcher during his service in World War II.

More than seven decades ago, an American soldier named Ozzie Fletcher bravely fought in the Battle of Normandy. While working as a crane operator, he barely escaped with his life when a German missile came crashing down on him, killing his driver. But since Fletcher was Black, he wasn’t awarded the Purple Heart — until now.

Gen. James McConville, the chief of staff of the U.S. Army, awarded Fletcher — now 99 years old — the long-overdue medal at the Fort Hamilton Community Club in Brooklyn on June 18.

Take a closer look at Fletcher’s story here.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.
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.