Friday, November 5, 2010

Skulls of 4 extinct animals discovered underwater in the Yucatan

Four complete skulls and jaws of a species extinct in America, Arctotherium, that lived during the Pleistocene and disappeared 11,300 years ago, were found by sub aquatic archaeologists in the bed of a cenote in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

These are the only specimens of their type found until now in this region of the country, and add up to the list of Prehistorical fauna located inside this kind of water bodies, which before glaciations were dry caves.

Sub aquatic archaeologist Guillermo de Anda Alanis, from the Yucatan Autonomous University (UADY), who conducts this research as part of the project authorized by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) “El Culto al Cenote en el Centro de Yucatan” (Cult to Cenote in Central Yucatan) since 2007, announced the details of the discovery at the International Congress American Cultures and their Environment: Perspectives from Zoo Archaeology, Paleo Botanic and Ethno Biology, organized by UADY and taking place from November 1st to 5th 2010 in Merida, Yucatan.

Guillermo de Anda Alanis declared that the remains were located in a submerged cavern between the towns of Sotuta and Homun, in Yucatan, at 40 meters depth. Bones were dispersed in a 120 meter diameter surface, and it has been estimated that they could correspond to a family of bears, since the 2 adult skulls belonged to a male and a female, while the other 2 skulls did not reach their full development. They were all from the same species.

The archaeologist indicated that besides the mammals’ remains, 5 ancient human bone remains, still to be dated, were located 30 meters away from the bears, but it is still unknown if they are related.

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