The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Scientists and divers from Mexico and the United States discovered the oldest human remains in the Americas, a 15 to 16 year old young woman named “Naia“, in a flooded cave in the Yucatan Peninsula, reported the National Institute of anthropology and History (INAH).

The skeleton of Naia, the “most complete and genetically intact” found in America, between 12,000 and 13,000 years old, was discovered at the archaeological site known as the Black Hole, which is located inside a flooded cave in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo in southeastern Mexico.

The researcher Pilar Luna Erreguerena of INAH, pioneer in underwater archeology, explained that the mitochondrial DNA analysis – performed for three years in the United States and Canada – interpreted Naia as the missing link to between the first inhabitants of America and indigenous groups on the continent.

The specialist added that genetic studies confirm its Asian lineage to Beringio (concerning a land bridge that existed during various ice ages and is now the Bering Strait) which linked Siberian migrations of a group that developed adaptive changes to new climates.

In addition to the technique of mitochondrial DNA, the dating was realized through the methods of carbon-14 and Uranium –Thorium analysis, the INAH announced in a statement.

The USA anthropologist and paleontologist, James C. Chatters and archaeologist Dominique Rissolo, participated in the investigation and will present their findings in an upcoming science journal.

According to the archaeologist Luna Erreguerena, this discovery puts Mexico in an “outstanding position” in relation to investigations for clarifying the link between the early American settlers and current indigenous groups.

The specialist added that the age of the skeleton was further confirmed with studies of seeds, coal, bat guano and other remains located at the place, as well as by changes of sea level in the ice age.

Besides the Naia skeleton they found the remains of 11 species of Late Pleistocene era animals, including a saber-toothed tiger, a ground sloth, a giant tapir and others.

Dr. Chatters, leading author of the article to be published in Science, said that the excellent conditions of the skeleton, with a skull and teeth in good condition, have allowed the analysis and achieve precise dating.

He added that all these submerged sites dating from the Ice Age will offer a unique opportunity to learn about the human history of the interaction between a human being completely different from the current prehistoric environment.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica

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