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Mexican Cave Divers Find Oldest Evidence of Humans in the Americas
By Sandrah Gurash, February 22, 2011 @ 06:46 PM (EST)
Source: National Geographic

Members of Projecto Espeleologico de Tulum (PET), an organization that explores and surveys the underwater caves in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, were recently exploring Hoyo Negro (or Black Hole), part of the Aktun-Hu cave system, when they discovered a human skull. 

Hoyo Negro lies some  4,000 ft (1,200 m) inside the Aktun-Hu cave system and it’s approximately 200 ft (60 m) deep.  While the team was mapping and surveying the new pit within the cave system, mastodon remains were found at 140 ft (43 m).  While searching for additional mastodon remains, team member Alex Alvarez came upon a human skull.

The PET team contacted Guillermo de Anda, an archeologist with at t he Univeristy of Yucatan in Merida, for assistance with assistance in identifying both the remains and skull.  Guillermo said, “The findings of Hoyo Negro are a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.  The skull looks pre-Mayan, which could make it one of the oldest human remains in the area.”

Once they knew what they had, the divers formally announced their discovery to Mexico’s National Institute for Archeology and History (INAH).  Pilar Luna of INAH said, “INAH’s division of underwater archeology is preparing a multidisciplinary project with discoverers of the site. “

Entrance to Hoyo Negro is currently limited to members of the INAH research team.

To read more about Hoyo Negro, the Aktun-Hu cave system and Mexico’s cenotes, visit NatGeo Newswatch









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