Scientists from all over the world will soon be able to dive into a virtual 3-D replica of a vast underwater cave off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, where the oldest skeleton in the Americas was found seven years ago.
Anthropologists, cave experts, archeologists and photographers are working to fashion a virtual copy of the cave known in Spanish as Hoyo Negro, or black hole, where the skeleton of Naia, a young girl, who lived more than 13,000 years ago was found in 2011.
The first results of their work were presented Wednesday night by archeologist Alberto Nava, who discovered the cave in 2007.
That cavern is part of something much bigger, believed to be the world’s largest underwater cave network. Its existence was made public last month.
“Some day I will have a complete replica,” said Nava of the bell-shaped Hoyo Negro cave off the coast of Quintana Roo state.
The exact location is being kept secret by the National Institute of Anthropology and History in order to protect it from being raided.
Scientists around the world are drooling over the fossils found in the cave: the remains of 42 animals from the late Pleistocene period, including saber tooth tigers.
Scientists say that 13,000 years ago the sea level there was 80 to 100 meters lower than today.
Naia’s remains, almost a complete skeleton, were from a female who apparently entered the cave even though she probably knew it was risky, experts said.