Cave Diver finds an 8,000-year-old human skeleton not seen since the last Ice Age in a remote Mexican forest 26 feet underwater
- Cave-diving archaeologists have found a prehistoric human skeleton inside a Mexican cave off the country’s Caribbean coast.
- The remains date back to the time the cave was submerged at the end of the last Ice Age 8000 years ago
- Cave-diving archaeologist Octavio del Rio said: “We don’t know if the body was deposited there or if this is where this person died.
- The sex of the skeleton and the cause of death will not be known until an analysis can be done
A prehistoric human skeleton dating back to the end of the last ice age has been discovered in a cave system in Mexico.
Because of the distance from the cave’s entrance, the skeleton where it was found could not have descended without modern diving equipment, so researchers believe it dates back to a time 8,000 years ago when rising sea levels submerged the caves.
“We don’t know if the body was deposited there or if that was where this person died,” said Octavio del Rio, a cave-diving archaeologist.
Del Rio and his colleagues found the remains, which were covered in sediment about 26 feet underwater, off the country’s Caribbean coast. Del Rio has worked with the National Institute of Anthropology and History on projects in the past.
A prehistoric human skeleton (above) dating to the end of the last Ice Age has been discovered in a cave system in Mexico
‘that is it. We don’t know if the body was deposited there or if this is where that person died, said cave-diving archaeologist Octavio del Rio (shown above), who has been exploring the area for years.
In an interview with Reforma newspaper, Del Rio said: “We don’t yet know the gender or the size [of the person], how much it weighs, whether a person has a disease. We don’t know how he died.
Laboratory analysis will determine these details after the remains are removed from the cave.
He did not reveal the cave’s location for fear of being disturbed or looted, but said it was close to where the Mexican government cut a sample of the forest to lay tracks and posted a post on his personal Facebook account. He said it was near Tulum.
Experts believe that some of these caves are threatened by development projects in the country, such as the Maya Railway.
Del Rio, who has explored the area for three decades, said that “the train will pass through a 60-kilometre area considered a unique archaeological site” if construction of the 5-sur tramo continues as planned.
“What we want is to change course in this spot, because of the archaeological finds that have been found there, and its significance,” he told The Associated Press.
“They should take the train from there and put it in the place they said they were going to build before, on the highway, … an area that was already affected.”
However, del Rio also said that the institute’s archaeologist Carmen Rojas told him that the site is registered and will be investigated by the Institute’s Holocene Archeology Project of the state of Quintana Roo.
“There are a lot of studies that need to be done for the correct interpretation” of the discovery, Del Rio said, noting that “dating and some kind of photographic studies and some grouping” are needed.
In 2002, he co-discovered and cataloged the remains known as the Naharun Woman, who died around the same time, or possibly earlier, than Naya—the nearly complete skeleton of a young woman who died about 13,000 years ago.
The institute did not immediately respond to Associated Press questions about whether it intended to explore the site.
Del Rio, a diver and archaeologist, walks outside the beginning of the Guardianes Cave, a flooded cave that stretches for miles under a planned Maya train track in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo state, Mexico
Mexico’s ambitious Mayan train project along the country’s Caribbean coast threatens the indigenous Mayans for whom it is named