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See The Shocking Faces Of The First Americans

Scientists have pieced together one of the oldest skeletons to ever be found in the Americas. From the January issue of National Geographic magazine.

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You're looking at the face of one of the first Americans. Meet "Naia." She is around 13,000 years old.

Timothy Archibald/National Geographic Re-Creation: James Chatters, Applied Paleoscience; Tom McClellan / Via

For the first time ever, you are able to gaze into eyes of one of the first Americans, thanks to research lead by archaeologist Jim Chatters.

Her story is a tragic one. She was only a teenager when she met her demise by falling in this underwater cave in Yucatán, Mexico.

Paul Nicklen / Via

The cave was mostly dry when Naia died around 12,000-13,000 years ago. The cave is so immense and mysterious, that it's appropriately nicknamed "Hoyo Negro," which means "dark hole."

Mexican divers found her bones in 2007.

Paul Nicklen / Via

So, it's only fitting that the divers named her Naia, as a homage to water nymphs in ancient Greek mythology.

Remarkably, the divers discovered the oldest, most intact skeleton, so far, in the Americas. Her bones were so well-preserved that researchers were able to reconstruct her face and get a DNA sample.

Her genetic marker revealed a link to an isolated group that came from Asia.

Art by Jon Foster / Via

But her life in the Americas was most-likely difficult and harsh. Archaeologist Jim Chatters told National Geographic that her society was extremely violent. Males were tough, frequently engaged in fights, and dominated females, which may explain the "strong" features of Paleo-Americans.

Science Writer

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