Scientists around the world will soon be able to dive into a virtual 3-D replica of a vast Yucatecan underwater cave — the one where the oldest skeleton in the Americas was found seven years ago.
Anthropologists, cave experts, archaeologists and photographers are working to fashion a virtual copy of the Hoyo Negro, where the skeleton of Naia, a young girl, who lived more than 13,000 years ago was found north of Tulum.
That cavern is believed to be the world’s largest underwater cave network; its existence was made public in January.
“Some day I will have a complete replica,” said Nava of the bell-shaped Hoyo Negro cave off the coast of Quintana Roo. It is rich with fascinating fossils, including the remains of 42 animals from the late Pleistocene period, such as saber-tooth tigers.
But its exact location is being kept secret by the National Institute of Anthropology and History to protect it from being raided.
Naia’s remains, almost a complete skeleton, were from a female who apparently took a big risk by entering the cave. She was named for the Greek water nymph and has a constellation of genes common among modern Native Americans.