Naia means water nymph, and there could be no better name for this young woman who died 12,000 or 13,000 years in Quintana Roo, Mexico and she could be the key element to decipher and reveal the mystery of the origin of the first inhabitants of the American continent.
She was only 16 years old when she fell inside a deep cave known as “Hoyo Negro” –black hole- ; some people think she could have been looking for fresh water; however she was trapped in a time capsule.
In 2007 a group of exploring divers found her in her wet tomb, beside her laid other animals which were identified as sabretooth, gomphothere (relative to the modern elephant), giant tapir, boar, bear, puma, bobcat, coyote, coati and bat.
It was an incredible surprise for everybody, given it was the first time they found human remains as old as Naia’s and in such good conditions. These will allow scientists to discover details from her fascinating story.
Her skeleton, facial features and the shape of the skull identify her as a primitive American woman or paleo-American woman, her DNA is related to the hunter-collectors who crossed the Bering Strait from northern Asia 26 thousand and 18 thousand years ago.
Although the shape of Naia’s skull is different from the modern native people, scientists have determined that both come from a town which “evolved on site”.
Laboratories in the State University of Washington and in the University of Texas confirmed these findings; the genetic lineage of Naia is just part native American.
The next step in this research is to do nuclear DNA sequencing, as well as find out the age and genetics of the animals found with her.
This amazing discovery done in Quintana Roo, states the importance of preserving the submarine caves and cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula; as they can enclose valuable information of our past.