Mexico cave may hold American settlers clue

7th Aug 2013

Thirty skeletons found at one of Mexico's most ancient cultural sites may hold a clue to the first settlers of the Americas, archaeologists believe.

The bones, believed to be up to 2,000 years old, were discovered in "La Sepultura" cave in Tamaulipas state.

La Sepultura lies is a region steeped in habitat diversity and ideal for tourists on trekking holidays with high, dry pine forests, biosphere reserve, and, of course, the caves.

Genetics specialists from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and Spain's University of Cordoba are currently examining the skeletons.

Radiocarbon tests and studies of ancient DNA will reveal if it was also home to one of the oldest genetic lineages of America, linked to the people who crossed the Bering Strait, about 10,000 years ago.

Additional explorations and excavations of burial caves in Tamaulipas will help to better determine the origin, development, quality and lifestyle of ancient cultures who settled in the region.

Site studies started in 2009 and DNA findings reveal the bones could have lineages that predate Christ by about 10,000 years.

Archaeologists have dated skeletal remains found at the same site back to between 1387 and 914 BC.

Scientists earlier found mummies in nearby "La Escondida" cave that they claim showed DNA traces of groups of humans that settled early in the Americas.

They hope that the results will shed further light on the origin of Mexican prehistoric groups and their dispersion over time.

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