12,000-year-old human skull found in Mexico

Mexico city, June 19 (IANS) A 12,000-year-old female human’s skull found in the Mexican Caribbean could be the oldest human remains ever unearthed in the Americas, a media report said Friday.

The skull was excavated from an underground cave along the coast of Tulum, in Quintana Roo state, and could date back to between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, according to Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM).

The reconstruction of the skull to determine the sex, age and other characteristics was done by the Paris-based Atelier Daynes studio, lead researcher Alejandro Terrazas Mata of UNAM’s Anthropological Research Institute (IIA) said.

The University of Heidelberg was also involved in the discovery, Xinhua reported.

Researchers said the remains appear to belong to none of the known indigenous groups in the Americas, “in part because the skull is not very similar to those of today’s indigenous groups”, said Mata.

The prevalent theory about the continent’s early settlers holds that a group of Asiatic people migrated across the Bering Strait some 15,000 years ago. Known as Paleoamericans, their craniofacial features share common ancestry with people from South Asia.

Another migration of a different group, who became the ancestors of the continent’s indigenous peoples also known as Amerindians, took place 9,000 years ago.

Mata said the studio was substantiating whether the skull found belonged to an ancestor of the Amerindians or not.

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