The arrival of humans on the Yucatan Peninsula: Evidence from submerged caves in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico


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January 2008


Submerged caves near Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, on theYucatan peninsula, contain a diverse megafaunal assemblage of latest Pleis-tocene age. Abundant coeval prehistoric evidence (e.g., hearths with burnedbones, artifacts) indicates that human settlement in the region also reachesback to the end of the Pleistocene. Among the highlights of our ongoingmultidisciplinary research are three human skeletons of preceramic age, 70–90 percent complete and mostly articulated. These corpses, which skeletizedin situ, appear to have been intentionally buried at a time when the caves werestill dry, i.e., prior to the early-Holocene rise of sea level. The three individualsare the oldest skeletons found so far in southeastern Mexico and are amongthe oldest known from the American continent


Submerged Caves, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, Human Arrival

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