Ancient human skeleton removed from Mexican cave

Archaeologists dive inside a cave where the skeleton of a child was found in this undated picture released to Reuters on August 24, 2010. REUTERS/Jeronimo Aviles/Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia/Handout

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The remains of a prehistoric child were removed from an underwater cave in Mexico four years after divers stumbled upon the well-preserved corpse that offers clues to ancient human migration.

The skeletal remains of the boy, dubbed the Young Hol Chan, are more than 10,000 years old and are among the oldest human bones found in the Americas.

The corpse was discovered in 2006 by a pair of German cave divers who were exploring unique flooded sandstone sinkholes, known as cenotes, common to the eastern Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

Scientists spent three years studying the remains where they lay before deciding it was safe to bring the skeleton to the surface for further study, according to the Mexican National Institute for Anthropology and History.

The institute is coordinating a study of early human migration to eastern Mexico that aims to deepen understanding of the movement of people across the Bering Strait at the end of the last Ice Age.

The Young Hol Chan, named after the cenote where he was discovered, was found in a darkened cave 27 feet (8.3 meters) beneath the surface.

(Reporting by Patrick Rucker; editing by Todd Eastham)

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