Alejandro Alvarez’s eyes widened against the dark underwater void that would become known as the Black Hole on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
His flashlight shined on ancient bones from extinct species, and eventually he would discover the hemisphere’s oldest, most complete skeleton, a find that may transform the way we think about the development of American man.
“What in the world is this?” Alvarez recalls thinking. He and two diving buddies with him knew that they had stumbled across something special.
“We immediately realized the importance,” Alvarez, now 52 and still diving, said in an interview. “It was very exciting.”
The discovery of the 12,000-year-old skeleton of a teenage girl occurred seven years ago but wasn’t announced until this month, after additional, sometimes-risky exploration and detailed scientific investigation.
Published first in the American magazine Science, then elaborated upon by Mexican scientific officials, the find has provided immeasurable evidence on the origins of the first Native Americans.
Read more at the Los Angeles Times