Naia (skeleton)

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Naia is a 12,000 to 13,000-year old human skeleton of a teenage female that was found in Mexico. The bones were part of a 2007 discovery of a cache of animal bones in an underwater chamber called Hoyo Negro (Spanish for "Black Hole") in the Sac Actun cave system.[1] The remains have been described as the "oldest, most complete and genetically intact human skeleton in the New World".[2] Her name is derived from a type of water nymph in Greek mythology - the Naiads.

DNA testing of Naia has indicated a genetic link between Paleoamericans and modern Native Americans.[3] Kennewick Man, a set of well-preserved Paleoamerican remains discovered in 1996, had raised doubts about such a connection due to its features, such as a narrow skull, that were unlike Native Americans. Naia also has a narrow skull. However, Naia's DNA seemingly confirms that despite differences in appearance, these groups nevertheless share descendants.[4]


  1. ^ Hodges, Glen (2014-05-14). "Most Complete Ice Age Skeleton Helps Solve Mystery of First Americans". National Geographic. 
  2. ^ Kumar, Mohi (2014-05-15). "DNA From 12,000-Year-Old Skeleton Helps Answer the Question: Who Were the First Americans?". 
  3. ^ James C. Chatters, Douglas J. Kennett, Yemane Asmerom, Brian M. Kemp, Victor Polyak, Alberto Nava Blank, Patricia A. Beddows, Eduard Reinhardt, Joaquin Arroyo-Cabrales, Deborah A. Bolnick, Ripan S. Malhi, Brendan J. Culleton, Pilar Luna Erreguerena, Dominique Rissolo, Shanti Morell-Hart, Thomas W. Stafford Jr. (2014-05-16). "Late Pleistocene Human Skeleton and mtDNA Link Paleoamericans and Modern Native Americans". Science 344 (6185): 750–754. doi:10.1126/science.1252619. 
  4. ^ Doughton, Sandi (2014-05-15). "Ancient girl’s skeleton changes scientist’s mind on human migration". The Seattle Times.