Learn about the history of the Woman of the Palms, the oldest human skeleton found in the Yucatan peninsula and which yielded very important data on the population of the American continent.
La Mujer de las Palmas is the name given to a skeleton found in a Tulum cenote in 2005, considered one of the oldest human remains found in the American continent. Discover the history and the unknown origin of the mysterious woman, below.
In 2005, cave divers James Coke and Jerónimo Avilés found a human skull in the Las Palmas cenote (4 and a half kilometers from Tulum, Quintana Roo). Shortly after, a research group made up of specialists from INAH, UNAM and the Coahuila Desert Museumm took on the task of recovering the human remains and studying them, there the Woman of the Palms was reborn, one of the oldest human fossils found in America.
The discovery was a revelation, as it opens up a sea of possibilities and shakes the well-known theory that the first settlers of the American continent did not cover southern Mexico.
The Woman of the Palms, the oldest human skeleton in Yucatan
The Woman of the Palms receives her name from the cenote in which her skull was found and later what was left of her bone composition. It is 12,500 years old; which means that she lived in the Yucatan peninsula during the Ice Age.
The finding is the oldest human skeleton found so far in the Yucatan peninsula and the American continent.
Characteristics of The Woman of the Palms
The UNAM anthropologist, Alejandro Terrazas, announced that after tests and studies, it was concluded that the physical characteristics of the Woman of Las Palmas do not correspond to the Mexican indigenous population, not even with the skeletons of those who were considered the oldest settlers in America.
At the time of her death, the Woman of Las Palmas was between 40 and 50 years old, she was 1 meter 52 centimeters tall and weighed 58 kilos. Her facial features were found to be compatible with features of the people of Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia.
What does the Woman of the Palms have to do with the theory of the population of America?
Until recently, it was thought that America had been populated by tribes belonging to northern Asia, who arrived through the Bering Strait and that the first settlers did not come to occupy Yucatan; but the discovery of the Woman of the Palms tells us that this wave not only managed to reach the peninsula, but that it could also originate from the center and south of the Asian continent.
Before finding the Woman of the Palms, some 11,500-year-old arrowheads found in New Mexico, USA, were the oldest evidence of human existence in Mexico.
The Woman of Las Palmas today
Today, there is a reconstruction of the Woman of the Palms that was made in the French workshop Atelier Daynés, following the specifications of the Mexican physical anthropologists. The reconstruction could take place thanks to the criteria and instructions of the forensic anthropologists who studied the bone structure of the woman.
Source: Mexico Desconocido