Inside a 100-foot-deep chamber near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, divers discovered a skull at least 12,000 years old. DNA from this skeleton is helping scientists address a puzzle about the settling of the Americas.
Diver Susan Bird works at the bottom of a large underwater cave near Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. She carefully brushes the human skull found at the site while her team members take detailed photographs. Researchers published their analysis of a nearly complete skeleton, dated to between 12,000 and 13,000 years old, in the journal Science on May 15, 2014. The project was led by the Mexican government’s National Institute of Anthropology and History and supported by the National Geographic Society.Paul Nicklen/National Geographic