European woman ‘arrived in New Zealand before Captain Cook’

From The Telegraph: European woman ‘arrived in New Zealand before Captain Cook’.

The discovery of a European skull dating back more than 260 years has cast doubt that Captain James Cook was the first Westerner to step foot on the shores of New Zealand.

Scientists are baffled after carbon dating showed the skull, a woman’s which was found near the country’s capital, Wellington, dates back from 1742 — decades before Cook’s Pacific expedition arrived in 1769.

The discovery was made by a boy walking his dog on the bank of a river in the Wairarapa region of the North Island, an area settled by Europeans only after the establishment of a colony by the New Zealand Company in 1840.

Dr Robin Watt, a forensic anthropologist called in by police who investigated the discovery, said yesterday: “It’s a real mystery, it really is. “We’ve got the problem of how did this woman get here? Who was she? [continue]