Remains of mammoth uncovered in Mexico

Mexican experts are carefully digging up fossils of a Pleistocene-era mammoth believed to have been cut to pieces by ancient humans.

Remains of the giant wooly mammal, believed to be some 14,000 years old, were discovered by chance in December near Mexico City while drainage pipes were being installed in the village of Tultepec.

Archaeologists have been working at the site since April, and they hope to complete their work in the next few days.

Luis Cordoba, an archaeologist with the National Institute of Anthropology and History, said the remains of more than fifty mammoths have been discovered in the area around the capital, where in pre-historic times there was a shallow saltwater lake where the heavy creatures often got stuck.

The lake was also very good for preserving the remains.

Other have been found in the Tultepec area, "but this is the first time that they can be studied because in general people do not report the finds in time," Cordoba said.

When alive, the mammoth was 3.5 meters high, five meters long, weighed around five tonnes, and was between the ages of 20 and 25.

The Tultepec mammoth, which is about three-quarters complete and well preserved, still has tusks attached to its skull.

However the remaining fossils "do not maintain an anatomical order," Cordoba said, suggesting the mammoth was cut up by humans for its meat or pelt.

Scientists hope to eventually assemble the fossils and put them on display.

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© 2016 AFP

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Jun 25, 2016
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Jun 26, 2016
Along the side of a calm lake, not very likely. Although there could have been predation by other animals and then the carrion eaters, usually this leaves the skeleton in even different shape shape. It could be that the bull drowned, with his forequarters in the water. I am sure that any animals, including humans, would have happily feasted on what they could get to, and is is very likely, if they are pointing out scattering, that there were specific tendons cut and that they are possibly finding cut marks on the bone. Would be nice to be on the dig site itself and know more.

Jun 26, 2016
Why would mammoths be hanging around a shallow saltwater lake? I'm not saying it didn't happen, I just don't see the attraction. Salt/minerals? Are elephants known to do this?

Jun 28, 2016
Elephants everywhere are known for wallowing in mud, and ones near sea shores will, at times, swim in salt water, yes, if that is what there is, to cool themselves. Most certainly they would drink elsewhere, unless forced,but there are also nice edible grasses and other plants near salt water lakes, including bog-like areas, so it is entirely possible for mammoths to be there for similar reasons, especially if they needed to cool, and should there be good forage also. Still have to watch out for sneaky humans though, dig a pit in your normal trail and when you fall in, nose first, and drown, then they butcher what they can get to and the rest gets preserved pretty well. Still waiting to see/hear about cut marks on the bones, that would clinch it: Specific cut marks and not just carrion eater's marks on the bones.

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