Human remains seen in a photo taken from Titanic have shocked researchers. They had been cropped out of a photo released in 2004 but have now been seen more widely as the 100th anniversary of the tragedy has been marked.
Although James Cameron has been to the site of the Titanic wreck many times in planning for his movie of the same name, he had not seen any human remains.
"We've seen shoes. We've seen pairs of shoes, which would strongly suggest there was a body there at one point. But we've never seen any human remains," he told the New York Times.
Dr. James Delgado, director of the Maritime Heritage Museum, told Yahoo News that when the photo was first seen in 2004, "the room went silent." Researchers knew that there was a body still wearing those boots.
Because this is the 100th anniversary of Titanic's sinking, interest has been greatly renewed. The movie by Cameron has been re-released in 3D format, enabling a new generation to understand about the tragedy of the legendary ship's sinking. Memorials and remembrance events have been held throughout the world, and interested people have been conducting more widespread research on the ship.
Delgado hopes that the photo of human remains will serve as an impetus to better protect the wreckage. Senator John Kerry has introduced a bill to amend the Titanic Maritime Memorial Act of 1986 that would offer the site increased protection, including that from people wanting to profit and recover pieces of the wreckage.
Titanic sunk in international waters, which greatly limits what protection the United States can offer. Yet Delgado remains hopeful that the more people who become invested in Titanic, the more they will want to see the site protected.
"There are some places that are so special, we should take a different approach," Delgado has said, according to Yahoo News.
The Titanic sunk on April 14, 1912 after hitting an iceberg that caused critical damage. Out of the 2,223 people onboard, over 1,500 died that night.