First Images of 12,000-Year-Old Mexican Mammoth Skeleton Emerge
Paleontologists are in the final stages of extracting the skeleton of a huge mammoth discovered buried two metres underneath a busy street in the Mexican city Tultepec.
New images of the excavation site have revealed the sheer size of the prehistoric animal, which experts believe died between 12,000 and 14,000 years ago in what is now the city’s suburb of San Antonio Xahuento.
With a metre-wide skull and tusks spanning more than ten feet, the skeleton belongs to Mammuthus Columbi, a North American mammoth which expects believe grew sixteen feet high and weighed up to 10 tonnes.
Discovered while workers were carrying out drainage work in the area, paleontologist Luis Cordoba Barradas, who is overseeing the project, said the position of the bones at the site suggests “the specimen may have been partially cut up by a human group.”
In a statement given by Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Institute, Mr Barradas added that researchers had discovered ribs and other large bones, including the humerus and femur bones and a dozen vertebra.
The position of the animal’s remains suggests it died after becoming trapped in mud due to huge mass and heavy build, and had later been cut up by humans and other predators.
While the process of excavating the animal is painstakingly slow, Barradas and his team have successfully removed the cranium and pelvis, which they said had been perfectly preserved by the sediments in the soil surrounding the skeleton.
Mammoth remains have been discovered at various points in Mexico, in areas near lakes where herds congregated.
Known as the Columbian Mammoth, the sub-species lived across the United States and Central America. Remains of the mammoths have been uncovered across Mexico, Texas and as far west as the La Brea Tar Pits in California.
The discovery is the first in Mexico since 2013, when archaeologists in Mexico City discovered the most set complete of bones of any mammoth found in the country.