Current Projects News

May 16, 2014

Hoyo Negro Skeleton Links Paleoamericans and Modern Native Americans

Divers at Hoyo Negro transport a 12,000-year-old skull for 3D scanning. (Photo: Paul Nicklen/National Geographic)

Check it out! The AIA-supported site of Hoyo Negro, Mexico has made some exciting discoveries.

Yesterday, archaeologists from the underwater site of Hoyo Negro made an amazing announcement: they have uncovered the oldest, most complete human skeleton in the New World to date, calculated at 12,000-13,000 years old. But that’s not all: analysis of these remains has revealed DNA evidence that connects the earliest settlers of the New World with modern Native Americans.

For years archaeologists have debated whether modern Native Americans and Paleoamericans were descended from different population groups, based on important differences in their skeletal morphology. Findings from this site, however, may be the next step in bridging these two peoples. The skeleton at Hoyo Negro is unique because it has both facial features of Paleoamericans and mitochondrial DNA that is found in modern Native Americans. To read more about this fascinating discovery, click here to visit the original article, published by Science.

Hoyo Negro received a Site Preservation Grant from the AIA in 2011. Funding was used to protect the site from recreational divers through the construction of a secured gate and fencing, as well as the installment of signage to warn of the site’s fragile remains. Learn more about the AIA-supported project at Hoyo Negro

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