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Human presence on the Yucatán Peninsula reaches back to the Late Pleistocene. Osteological evidence comes from submerged caves and sinkholes (cenotes) near Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Here we report on a new skeleton discovered by us in the Chan Hol underwater cave, dating to a minimum age of 9.9±0.1 ky BP based on 230Th/U-dating of flowstone overlying and encrusting human phalanges. This is the third Paleoindian human skeleton with mesocephalic cranial characteristics documented by us in the cave, of which a male individual named Chan Hol 2 described recently is one of the oldest human skeletons found on the American continent. The new discovery emphasizes the importance of the Chan Hol cave and other systems in the Tulum area for understanding the early peopling of the Americas. The new individual, here named Chan Hol 3, is a woman of about 30 years of age with three cranial traumas. There is also evidence for a possible trepanomal bacterial disease that caused severe alteration of the posterior parietal and occipital bones of the cranium. This is the first time that the presence of such disease is reported in a Paleoindian skeleton in the Americas. All ten early skeletons found so far in the submerged caves from the Yucatán Peninsula have mesocephalic cranial morphology, different to the dolicocephalic morphology for Paleoindians from Central Mexico with equivalent dates. This supports the presence of two morphologically different Paleoindian populations for Mexico, coexisting in different geographical areas during the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene.
PLoS ONE, Vol. 15, no. 2 (2020-02-05).
Yucatán, Mexican, Cenotes
Yucatán; Mexican; Cenotes
Stinnesbeck, Wolfgang; Rennie, Samuel R.; Avilés Olguín, Jerónimo; Stinnesbeck, Sarah R.; Gonzalez, Silvia; Frank, Norbert; Warken, Sophie; Schorndorf, Nils; Krengel, Thomas; Velázquez Morlet, Adriana; and González González, Arturo, "New evidence for an early settlement of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico: The Chan Hol 3 woman and her meaning for the Peopling of the Americas" (2020). KIP Articles. 3826.