The ancient remains of a teenage girl discovered deep underground in Mexico are providing additional insights on how the Americas came to be populated.
Divers found the juvenile’s bones by chance in a vast, flooded limestone chamber on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Aged 15 or 16 at death, the girl lived at least 12,000 years ago.
Researchers have told Science Magazine her DNA backs the idea that the first Americans and modern Native American Indians share a common ancestry.
This theory argues that people from Siberia settled on the land bridge dubbed Beringia that linked Asia and the Americas some 20,000 years ago before sea levels rose.
These people then moved south to populate the American continents.
The genetics of modern Native Americans would certainly appear to link them into this story. But their facial features set them apart from the oldest skeletons now being unearthed.
These ancient people had narrower, longer skulls. The differences have hinted that perhaps there were multiple immigrations from Siberia (or even Europe).
However, the remains of the Yucatan girl, dubbed Naia – which means “water nymph” in Greek – does not follow that line of thinking, because although she had the slender features associated with the earliest Americans, her DNA shares commonalities with modern Native Americans.
Lab analysis of teeth and bone samples link her to a particular genetic lineage known as Haplogroup D1.
This same marker is found in substantial numbers of modern Native Americans.
“This lineage is thought to have developed in Beringia, the land that now lies beneath the Bering Sea after its ice age occupants became genetically isolated from the rest of Asia,” explained lead author Dr Jim Chatters.
“Thus, Naia, one of the earliest occupants of the Americas yet found, suggests that Paleoamericans do not represent an early migration from a part of the world different than that of the Native Americans.
“Rather, Paleoamericans and Native Americans descended from the same homeland in Beringia.
“The differences between them likely arose from evolution that occurred after the Beringian gene pool became separated from the rest of the world.”
You can read more on this story here.
Photo: Roberto Chavez Arce
The Big Shark Pledge: Shark Trust’s new campaign kicks off with a call for support
With the ink still drying on last week’s landmark listing of nearly 100 species of sharks on Appendix II of CITES, the Shark Trust insists that this is not the time for shark conservation to take a break. The UK-based NGO this week launches its biggest-ever concerted campaign to tackle the overfishing of oceanic sharks. They are calling on people across the world to join the call for stricter controls on high seas fisheries.
The Big Shark Pledge is at the heart of an ambitious set of campaign actions. Working to secure science-based catch limits on all sharks and rays affected by the international high seas fishing fleet. The pledge will build the largest campaigning community in shark and ray conservation history to support a raft of policy actions over the vital years ahead.
Many of our best known and much-loved sharks make their home on the high seas. In our shared ocean, these oceanic sharks and rays face a very real threat from a huge international fleet of industrial-scale fishing vessels. Research published in early 2021 confirmed that over three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are now at risk of extinction due to the destructive impact of overfishing. They have declined by 71% over the last 50 years.
The Shark Trust is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and has a long history of securing positive changes for sharks, skates and rays. The Big Shark Pledge will build on the success of their NoLimits? campaign which underpinned landmark catch limits on Blue Sharks and Shortfin Mako in the North Atlantic.
“While the listing of so many species on the CITES trade agreement is certainly a positive step, there remains a huge challenge in ensuring that sustainable practices are embedded in international fisheries.” says Shark Trust Director of conservation, Ali Hood. “Sharks on the high seas face extraordinary pressure from excessive fishing practices. This has to be addressed through international agreements such as those secured for Blues and makos.”
There is hope and a feeling of momentum in the shark conservation community. Just last week, in addition to the new CITES listings, the Shark Trust, working with partners in the Shark League, secured the first-ever international quota for South Atlantic Mako at ICCAT meeting in Portugal. The new campaign from the Shark Trust aims to push forwards from here, engaging a wave of support through the Big Shark Pledge to bolster policy action.
This will be a long-term international and collaborative effort. Forging a pathway to rebuild populations of high-seas sharks and rays. By putting science at the heart of shark conservation and fisheries management. And making the vital changes needed to set populations on the road to recovery.
Shark Trust CEO Paul Cox says of the Big Shark Pledge “It’s designed to give everyone who cares about the future of sharks the chance to add their voice to effective and proven conservation action. By adding their name to the Pledge, supporters will be given opportunities to apply pressure at key moments to influence change.”
Jeff chats to… Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Craig Waller, Underwater Lighting Technician on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Craig is a Key Grip and Lighting Director with 10,000s of hours of Set Experience.
In Craig’s own words:
I started my career when I was in my first year of college. I always had that creative side of the brain that needed to be followed as a career. I thought that would be in designing engineering pieces but wasn’t happy about the idea of an office cubicle and drafting table.
I accidentally found my way onto a big commercial job for a week and decided “THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO”. I made it my career after that. This is a quick list of recent and big projects in my 35 yrs of TV / Film / Photography.
- “Black Panther 2” – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
- “Stranger Things” Season 4 – UW Lighting Technician / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
- “Suicide Squad 2” – UW Gaffer / 2nd Unit Underwater Team
- NASCAR / FOX Sports 1 – Network TV Lighting Director – 7 years / 700 races of Live BIG track TV shows
- 10,000s of commercials / music videos / tv shows
I started diving when I was 18 years old with my OW and then AOW with PADI. I was diving with lots of friends in the late 80s and early 90s and then moved onto Kayaking. I got my daughter into diving when she turned 14 and have picked up where I left off.
I have approx 5000 dives now and spend most of my free time diving.
Here are my certs:
- OW – AOW 1989
- Adv Nitrox / Deco 2020
- Cavern – Intro Cave 2021
- CCR Tech – Fathom – 2021
You can find out more at www.craigwaller.com
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
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