Archaeology breakthrough: Stunned experts' 10,000-year-old body find redefines US history

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The woman, who was found in an underwater cave known as Chan Hol, near Tulum in Mexico, had her head smashed in, though her cause of death is yet to be determined. The shape  of her skull, experts believe, is very different to other humans who lived in the area at the time, which was just after the last ice age.

Archaeology breakthrough: Stunned experts' 10,000-year-old body find redefines US history

The woman her head smashed in, though her cause of death is yet to be determined. (Image: Getty)

Archaeology breakthrough: Stunned experts' 10,000-year-old body find redefines US history

The skeleton’s head differed to others in the region. (Image: Getty)

This has led experts to believe that humans in the America did not arrived as a single unit, as was believed before.

What they believe instead is that there were two groups who migrated to the continent, each from different origins.

Researchers have dubbed the skeleton Chan Hol 3, the remains of a 30-year-old Paleoindian woman.

She was buried in the cave that flooded around 2,000 years after she died, thanks to rising sea levels.

Archaeology breakthrough: Stunned experts' 10,000-year-old body find redefines US history

The discovery has changed how scientists thought humans entered the Americas. (Image: Getty)

Paleoindians were the first peoples to inhabit the Americas.

The remains were discovered and subsequently recovered by Mexican divers Vicente Fito and Iván Hernández.

Chan Hol 3 is the tenth person who’s had their skeletal remains found in the cave.

Though not all the remains were intact – allwere well preserved, which meant thorough comprehensive analysis was able to be carried out.

READ MORE: How ‘most important find of century’ exposed Bronze Age space advance

Archaeology breakthrough: Stunned experts' 10,000-year-old body find redefines US history

Chan Hol 3 is the tenth person who’s had their skeletal remains found in the cave. (Image: Getty)

Archaeology breakthrough: Stunned experts' 10,000-year-old body find redefines US history

Paleoindians were the first peoples to inhabit the Americas. (Image: Getty)

The findings have been published in Plos One, a journal.

In it, it’s revealed that the woman had a round head, broad cheekbones – with a flat forehead.

These attributes are similar to other skulls from the caves.

And yet the skull shape differs from the long-headed Paleoindian skeletons found elsewhere in the area.

A geology professor, Dr Silvia Gonzalez, of Liverpool John Moores University: said via PA: “The Tulum skeletons may indicate that either more than one group of humans originally reached the American continent from different geographical points of origin, or that there was sufficient time for a small group of early settlers living in isolation on the Yucatan Peninsula, to develop a different skull morphology.

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“In either case, the early settlement history of the Americas appears to be more complicated and may date back thousands of years earlier than commonly believed, according to the new human morphology data.’”

It is thought the Paleoindians had travelled across a now deceased naturally-formed bridge which was thought to connect Asia to North America.

The bridge, called Beringia, was used during the last Ice Age, some 12,000 years ago.

From this, the travelled to South America, to the Patagonian region.

Archaeology breakthrough: Stunned experts' 10,000-year-old body find redefines US history

The findings have been published in Plos One, a journal. (Image: Getty)

Dr Gonzalez continued: “The new results are important because they question the “traditional model” for the peopling of the Americas with one single and homogeneous Paleoindian population migrating very fast from Beringia to Patagonia after 12,000 years ago.

“Our results indicate that at least two morphologically different Paleoindian populations were coexisting in Mexico between 12,000 to 8,000 years ago, one in Central Mexico and the other in the Yucatan Peninsula.”

Led by Professor Wolfgang Stinnesbeck from Heidelberg University at team dated the woman’s remains using mineral deposits – which is called flowstone.

These form a lime crust and covers some of the finger bones.

Uranium-Thorium dating was used to figure out the age of the skeleton.

At the very youngest it’s 9,900 years old – but likely to be over 10,000 years old.


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