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Ancient remains stolen in Mexico

TULUM, Mexico, April 25 (UPI) -- The skeleton of one of the first humans to inhabit the Americas has been stolen in Mexico, authorities say, and archaeologists want it back.

The 10,000-year-old skeleton disappeared from a cenote, or underground water reservoir, in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, NewScientist.com reported Wednesday.

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The National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico City has placed "wanted" posters in stores, cafes and dive shops in and around the nearby town of Tulum, and authorities said they are also considering legal action to recover the remains.

The missing bones belong to a skeleton dubbed Young Hol Chan II, discovered in 2010 in a cenote that in 2006 had previously yielded another 10,000-year-old skeleton, the Young Man of Chan Hol.

The earlier find showed anatomical features suggesting shared heritage with Indonesians and south Asians, researchers said, dealing a blow to the idea that the earliest people to colonize the Americas crossed an ancient land bridge between Siberia and Alaska.

Researchers said they've been aware of a rash of thefts of specimens from cenotes but lack the resources to guard the hundreds of sites that dot the Yucatan peninsula.

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