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Naia First Face of America

Meet Naia: The reconstruction of Naia's head draws upon the work of Tom McClelland (sculptor) and James Chatters, an archaeologist with Applied Paleoscience in Bothell, Washington, and principal investigator of the research on Naia. Despite her different skull shape, "you can never exclude that Native Americans have more than one group of ancestors," says Chatters.

They placed Naia's skull on a rotating tripod, and set a camera on a second tripod next to it. Turning the skull slowly, they snapped pictures every 20 degrees. Later they used the photographs to reconstruct Naia's three-dimensional head.

Several methods were used to determine how old Naia's remains were, including radiocarbon dating of tooth enamel and uranium-thorium dating of crystals that accumulated on her bones. Those methods indicated that Naia was 13,000 years old.

Divers happened upon her (remarkably preserved) skeleton in a "collapsed chamber" together with the remains of 26 other large mammals, including giant sloths and sabre-toothed tigers, in a complex of flooded caverns, known as Hoyo Negro, in the jungles of Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

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Director: Graham Townsley, features Jay O. Sanders as Narrator, supplier Pbs.org | You can purchase dvd => Here! More about Naia => Here!

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