Sydney: Australian police confirmed on Monday that bones found in a forest where serial backpacker killer Ivan Milat dumped his victims were human but said they were keeping an open mind on the investigation.
Milat, 65, is serving consecutive life sentences for the murder of seven young travellers -- two Britons, three Germans and two Australians -- whose remains were found in the Belanglo State Forest in the 1990s.
Men trail-biking in the forest southwest of Sydney over the weekend discovered a skull, ribs and other large bones beside a large fallen tree.
"Obviously there is a lot of speculation surrounding this discovery but we definitely will not be jumping to conclusions," said Acting Superintendent Evan Quarmby.
"There are many lines of investigation to explore," he added in a statement.
"We will wait for the results of a post mortem examination and DNA tests and hopefully they will shed some light on the identity of the deceased and a cause of death."
An extensive search of the forest was conducted after the discovery of Milat`s seventh victim in 1993 but no other bodies were found, and some areas of the massive 4,100-hectare (10,127-acre) wilderness were not touched.
The officer who led the investigation into the backpacker killings, Clive Small, said Milat usually buried his victims well away from fire trails and the latest find didn`t fit that profile.
"In this case the remains were right beside the trail," Small told commercial radio.
"That would be inconsistent with the pattern that Milat had used."
At least 10 backpackers who disappeared during the period of Milat`s brutal killing spree remain missing, and Small said he`d always insisted there were at least three or four more victims.
"But I was not suggesting the remains were in the Belanglo forest," said Small. "I wouldn`t say we missed anything at this stage," he added of the 700-officer search in 1993. "We will have to wait and see."
Milat, one of Australia`s most prolific serial killers, was rushed to hospital last January after severing his little finger and putting it in an envelope addressed to the High Court. Reattachment surgery was unsuccessful.