Over 800 mammoth bones discovered in massive fossil stash in Mexico

If you like mammoths, you’re going to love this.

Archeologists from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) reported finding the largest-ever body of mammoth remains. The trove includes 824 bones from at least 14 different animals and was unearthed in central Mexico.

Image credits Edith Camacho / INAH.

Even more excitingly, the team believes that this stash is the oldest known example of a mammoth trap or ambush, set by our ancestors over 14,000 years ago.

Big stash of bigger animals

“This is the largest find of its kind ever made,” the institute said in a statement (original text in Spanish).

The fossils were found in the municipality of Tultepec near the site where a new airport is under construction. The team reports that some of the bones found showed signs that the animals were hunted. As the bones are estimated to be around 14,000 to 15,000 years old, the team says this is the earliest example of such a trap ever found.

Two human-dug pits created in those days of yore were also found at the site, which the team believes were used to trap the animals. Each pit is about 1.7 meters deep and 25 meters in diameter. Remains of two other species that have gone extinct in the Americas — a horse and a camel — were also found.

“Mammoths lived here for thousands of years. The herds grew, reproduced, died, were hunted,” archaeologist Luis Cordoba told local media. “They lived alongside other species, including horses and camels.”

The two pits were found on a site that’s earmarked for use as a garbage dump. It’s still unclear whether work on the dump will proceed.

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