A Menagerie of 13,000-Year-Old Life

In the low oxygen waters of a deep pit inside a cave known as Hoyo Negro (“Black Hole”), scientists have not only found the 13,000-year-old remains of a female body but also the skeletons of saber-toothed cats, elephant-like animals called gomphotheres, giant sloths, and other wild creatures. The human, referred to as Naia, “is the oldest, most complete human skeleton yet discovered in the Americas,” according to National Geographic. And while she’s a very important discovery, the knowledge gained about the Great American Interchange, or the mixing and migrating between North and South America, is profoundly impacting paleontology.