Prehistoric girl sheds light on Native American ancestry

A teenage girl, discovered underwater after thousands of years, was an ancestor of modern Native Americans.

A multi-institutional research team has published genetic data showing that the girl, nicknamed Naia, had a D1 haplotype, characteristic of today’s Native Americans.

The girl’s skeleton was discovered in 2007 in an underwater chamber in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Radiometric dating suggests that she died 12‒13,000 years ago.

America’s prehistoric human inhabitants had unusually-shaped skulls, so their relationship with modern Native Americans has long been uncertain. These findings confirm that, despite the morphological differences, modern Native Americans are most likely descended from these peoples.

Read more at Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico