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But Stinnesbeck and his colleagues speculated that the skeleton could be even older, based on another sediment deposit located between the bone and the stalagmite.
Unfortunately, 90 percent of the skeleton was looted a month later.
Often, to determine the age of human remains, scientists look at bone collagen and measure a radioactive isotope of carbon that decreases at a regular rate once a living thing dies.
In this case, carbon dating wasn't possible, however; the collagen in the skeleton had completely degraded after years of exposure to tropical water, the researchers said.
[The 25 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth] The researchers used pre-robbery photos to reconstruct the skeleton, determining that the person had likely been male, and that he likely died in the cave at a time in the ancient past when the site was dry.
The researchers also collected the bone fragments remaining in the cave, including part of a hip bone that was stuck under a stalagmite.
In order to map the story, students must identify the setting, characters, time, and place of the story, the problem, the goal, the action that took place, and the outcome.