Mexico to extract 12,000-year-old teen skeleton

Scientific diver Alberto Nava Blank (L) and Pedro Francisco Sanchez (R) of the Tulum Speleological Project, offer a press conference at the Anthropology National Museum in Mexico City. A teenage girl who fell into a hole more than 12,000 years ago in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is offering new clues about the origins of the first Native Americans, researchers said.

MEXICO CITY - Mexican researchers plan to extract the more than 12,000-year-old skeleton of a teenage girl whose discovery in an underwater cave has given new clues about the origins of the first Native Americans.

Archeologists have so far removed a molar and fragment of a rib of the girl dubbed "Naia," who is believed to have been 15 or 16 years old when she fell in a hole between 12,000 and 13,000 years ago.

Pilar Luna, the coordinator of the project, said Monday that Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History may extract the rest of the skeleton as soon as this year.

The bones may be displayed in a museum in Yucatan, the eastern Mexican state where the remains were found.

Naia's remains were found in 2007, submerged in an underwater cave along with the bones of saber tooth tigers, giant sloths and cave bears, some 135 feet (41 meters) below sea level.

A report published in the journal Science last week suggests Naia descended from people who migrated from Asia across the Bering Strait, over a land mass that was known as Beringia.