INAH scuba divers explore Hoyo Negro off the coast of Quintana Roo. Photos: INAH

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.

Initial results of their work were presented in Mexico City Wednesday by INAH archeologist Alberto Nava, who discovered the cave in 2007.
Map: U.S. Geological Survey

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.

Source: Agencies