Cave diver finds 8,000-year-old human SKELETON that hasn’t been seen since the last ice age in remote Mexican jungle 26 feet underwater
- Cave-diving archaeologists found a prehistoric human skeleton inside a Mexican cave off the country’s Caribbean coast
- The remains date to a time when the cave was flooded at the end of the last ice age 8,000 years ago
- ‘We don’t know if the body was deposited there or if that was where this person died,’ said cave-diving archaeologist Octavio Del Rio
- The skeleton’s gender and cause of death won’t be known until an analysis can be performed
A prehistoric human skeleton that dates to the end of the last ice age was unearthed in a cave system in Mexico.
Due to the distance from the cave’s entrance, the skeleton could not have landed where it was found without modern diving equipment, so the researchers believe it dates to a time 8,000 years ago when rising sea levels flooded the caves.
‘We don’t know if the body was deposited there or if that was where this person died,’ said cave-diving archaeologist Octavio Del Rio.
The remains, which were covered in sediment about 26 feet underwater, were found by Del Rio and his colleagues 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) that dates to the end of the last ice age was unearthed in a cave system in Mexico
‘There it is. We don’t know if the body was deposited there or if that was where this person died,’ said cave-diving archaeologist Octavio Del Rio (seen above), who has been exploring the area for years
In an interview with the Reforma newspaper, Del Rio said: ‘We don’t yet know the sex or the size [of the person], how much he or she weighed, whether the person had a disease. We don’t know how he or she died.’
A laboratory analysis would determine these details after the remains are removed from the cave.
He did not reveal the location of the cave out of a fear the site could be disturbed or looted, but he said it was near where the Mexican government had cut down a swatch of the jungle to lay tracks and a post on his personal Facebook account said it was near Tulum.
Experts believe some of these caves are threatened by the country development projects, like the Maya Train railroad.
Del Río, who has explored the region for three decades, said that ‘the train will go through a 60-kilometer area that is a unique archaeological site’ if construction of Tramo 5 Sur continues as planned.
‘What we want is for them to change to route at this spot, because of the archaeological finds that have been made there, and their importance,’ he told the Associated Press.
‘They should take the train away from there and put it where they said they were going to build before, on the highway, … an area that has already been affected.’
However, Del Rio also said that institute archaeologist Carmen Rojas told him the site is registered and will be investigated by the institute’s Quintana Roo state branch Holocene Archaeology Project.
‘There is a lot more study that has to be done in order to correctly interpret,’ the discovery, Del Rio said, noting that ‘dating, some kind of photographic studies and some collection’ would be needed.
In 2002, he took part in the discovery and cataloguing of remains known as The Woman of Naharon, who died around the same time, or perhaps earlier, than Naia — the nearly complete skeleton of a young woman who died around 13,000 years ago.
The institute did not immediately respond to questions from the Associated Press about whether it intends to explore the site.
Del Rio, a diver and archaeologist, walks outside the start of the Guardianes cave, a flooded cavern that stretches for miles underneath the path of the planned Maya Train in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo state, Mexico
Mexico’s ambitious Maya Train project along the country’s Caribbean coast is threatening the indigenous Maya people it was named for