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Ancient Human Remains, Ice Age Animal Bones Found in Giant Mexican Cave

The Pleistocene geological epoch, the most recent Ice Age, began 2.6 million years ago and ended around 11,700 years ago

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Researchers found 9000 years old remains in the flooded Mexican Cave. Wikimedia Commons
Researchers found 9000 years old remains in the flooded Mexican Cave. Wikimedia Commons
  • Archaeologists found ancient human remains in Mexico
  • The remains were found in a flooded cave in Mexico
  • Archaeologists also found bones of ancient animals

Archaeologists exploring the world’s biggest flooded cave in Mexico have discovered ancient human remains at least 9,000 years old and the bones of animals who roamed the Earth during the last Ice Age.

A group of divers recently connected two underwater caverns in eastern Mexico to reveal what is believed to be the biggest flooded cave on the planet, a discovery that could help shed new light on the ancient Maya civilization.

Ice age animal remains found in flooded Mexican cave. Wikimedia Commons
Ice age animal remains found in a flooded Mexican cave. Wikimedia Commons

The Yucatan peninsula is studded with monumental relics of the Maya people, whose cities drew upon an extensive network of sinkholes linked to subterranean waters known as cenotes.

Researchers say they found 248 cenotes at the 347-km (216-mile) cave system known as Sac Actun, near the beach resort of Tulum. Of the 200 archaeological sites, they have discovered there, around 140 are Mayan.

Some cenotes acquired particular religious significance to the Maya, whose descendants continue to inhabit the region.

Also Read: Ancient Caves, Ice Age Art and Bauhaus buildings in Germany to be considered for World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Apart from human remains, they also found bones of giant sloths, ancient elephants and extinct bears from the Pleistocene period, Mexico’s Culture Ministry said in a statement.

The cave’s discovery has rocked the archaeological world.

“I think it’s overwhelming. Without a doubt it’s the most important underwater archaeological site in the world,” said Guillermo de Anda, a researcher at Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute (INAH)

Human remains along with ice age animals' bones found in a flooded Mexican Cave.
Human remains along with ice age animals’ bones found in a flooded Mexican Cave.

De Anda is also director of the Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula.

Also Read: Oceans may be responsible for making Earth move in and out of Ice Ages every 100,000 years: Study

According to the INAH, water levels rose 100 meters at the end of the Ice Age, flooding the cave system and leading to “ideal conditions for the preservation of the remains of extinct megafauna from the Pleistocene.”

The Pleistocene geological epoch, the most recent Ice Age, began 2.6 million years ago and ended around 11,700 years ago. VOA

Next Story

What Lies Beneath These Invisible Footprints? Find it out Here

Researchers discover the invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age

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Footprints
Researchers have discovered the invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age. Pixabay

Using a special type of radar, researchers have discovered the invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age — and what lies beneath them.

The fossilised footprints reveal a wealth of information about how humans and animals moved and interacted with each other 12,000 years ago, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“We never thought to look under footprints, but it turns out that the sediment itself has a memory that records the effects of the animal’s weight and momentum in a beautiful way,” said study lead author Thomas Urban from Cornell University in the US.

“It gives us a way to understand the biomechanics of extinct fauna that we never had before,” Urban said.

The researchers examined the footprints of humans, mammoths and giant sloths in the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

Invisible footprints
The fossilised footprints reveal a wealth of information about how humans and animals moved and interacted with each other 12,000 years ago. Pixabay

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), they were able to resolve 96 per cent of the human tracks in the area under investigation, as well as all of the larger vertebrate tracks.

“But there are bigger implications than just this case study,” Urban said.

“The technique could possibly be applied to many other fossilised footprint sites around the world, potentially including those of dinosaurs. We have already successfully tested the method more broadly at multiple locations within White Sands,” Urban added.

“While these ‘ghost’ footprints can become invisible for a short time after rain and when conditions are just right, now, using geophysics methods, they can be recorded, traced and investigated in 3D to reveal Pleistocene animal and human interactions, history and mechanics in genuinely exciting new ways,” said study co-author Sturt Manning.

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GPR is a nondestructive method that allows researchers to access hidden information without the need for excavation.

The sensor – a kind of antenna – is dragged over the surface, sending a radio wave into the ground. The signal that bounces back gives a picture of what’s under the surface. (IANS)