Monday, September 08, 2008

Underwater find may alter timeline of human settlement in Americas

Archaeologists diving in caves off the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico) believe they have found a 13,600-year-old skeleton, reports National Geographic News (via Slashdot).

National Geographic News is skeptical of the finding. The headline is a question, "Oldest Skeleton in Americas Found in Underwater Cave?" And in the piece they note, "archaeologists may have discovered the oldest human skeleton ever found in the Americas." May have? It could be that the initial test was not performed with an accurate tool/method. Maybe it has something to do with the condition of the skeleton. Whatever it is, National Geographic News didn't say.

If the skeleton is indeed 13,600 years old, it would be the oldest human remains found in the Americas, and may push back the timeline of human migration into the Americas. Not only that, but the skeleton has features in common with South Asian peoples. Conventional wisdom holds that North Asians settled the Americas via the Bearing Sea land bridge.

In case you're going on Jeopardy soon, the skeleton has been dubbed "Eva de Naharon."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.