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Bones of early Americans stolen from underwater cave

The skeleton, which is probably at least 10,000 years old, has disappeared from a cenote, or underground water reservoir, in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.
Credit:   Kurt Amsler
Filephoto
New Scientist  |  Bones of early American disappear from underwater cave    |   04-25-2012
The missing bones belong to a skeleton dubbed Young Hol Chan II, discovered in 2010. The cenote in which it was found had previously yielded another 10,000-year-old skeleton – the Young Man of Chan Hol, discovered in 2006.
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Both skeletons were laid to rest at a time when sea level was much lower than it is today and the cenote, now about 8 metres below the water, was dry. Archaeologists have also found the remains of elephants, giant sloths and other animals in the caves, giving an indication of what the ancient humans ate.

Researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico City have been aware of creeping theft of specimens from cenotes, but they lack the resources to guard the hundreds of sites that dot the peninsula.

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