During the construction of an airport in Mexico, the archaeological site with the highest concentration of bones of the largest mammoths in the world found to date.
On April 14, 2020, the first skeletal remains of a mammoth (a skull and a large tusk) were found by workers working on the construction of the control tower of the new Felipe Angeles Airport.
This airport is built on the remodeled Santa Lucía Military Air Base, 45 kilometers from Mexico City.
The contractor company notified the authorities that it sent a team of 30 archaeologists and 3 restorers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), with the mission of studying the skeletal remains.
They also had to extract any rest of scientific value before they were damaged by the construction work of this important work that seeks to decongest the two terminals of the country’s capital.s.
After several months of work, the experts assure that it is the greatest discovery of its kind made in the world, by the quantity of bones and the size of the specimens buried there.
From April to mid-August, the complete or partial remains of between 60 and 70 of the victims have been found and removed from the site. largest mammoths in the world, belonging to the variety Mammuthus columbi.
An adult of this species could measure 4 meters in height and reach a weight of 10 tons. Their arched fangs could measure up to 3.5 meters in length.
They were very long-lived mammoths, with an average life span of 70 years.
The interesting thing is that human skeletons, earthenware and pieces of stone and wood were also found, used to make traps, which shows that humans and mammoths coexisted in this area from the country.
At a time when scientists celebrate the discovery of a planet possibly fit for life In the Luyten system, many rejoice at this news about our more distant past.
Historic landmark for Mexican archeology
The finding of mammoths under an airport It surprised the Mexican public, but it also generated a stir among scientists investigating the evolution of prehistoric fauna in this country.
These animals are believed to be related to the remains of 14 other of the largest mammoths in the world found in Tultepec, a neighboring municipality, in February 2019.
Although the Mammuthus columbi was a very abundant species throughout North America they are thought to have been extinguished by human hunting and environmental factors more than 10,000 years ago.
In this case, the first analyzes of Carbon 14 indicate that could be 14,000 to 15,000 years old, which places them in the final stretch of the Pleistocene period.
Recently was discovered a Pleistocene aquifer after the collapse of a Mexican highway.
Something interesting is that the new mammoth deposit is located 2,400 meters above sea level, which has generated new hypotheses about the ability of mammoths to adapt to life in high places.
The INAH spokesperson, the anthropologist Pedro Sánchez, highlighted the importance of this event:
“This is the largest discovery of this type that we have made in Mexico and it is very important because it will allow us to delve into many theories that we have about life and development of the world’s largest mammoths«, He pointed.
The world’s largest mammoths in Mexico, what were they doing here?
The first mammoth was found in 1970 during excavations for the construction of the Mexico City metro.
In October 2019, a deposit was found in the municipality of Tultepec, near Santa Lucía, from where 14 incomplete skeletons were extracted.
But this new find exceeds all expectations and now the INAH plans to expose the most complete skeletons and larger in a special gallery built in the new Felipe Ángeles airport.
To understand the reason for the presence of a large herd of the largest mammoth in the world In this area, we must remember that the entire Valley of Mexico was full of freshwater lakes with a lot of low vegetation.
The Santa Lucía site was covered by Lake Xaltocan, which was part of the Valle de México hydrographic basin.
The mammoths arrived about 25,000 years ago from North America and some herds settled in this area, which soon after was inhabited by humans.
Mammoths needed large amounts of grass each day to feed themselves, so they had an abundant supply of food here.
Later humans saw in them an abundant source of meat, skin and bones and they began to hunt them systematically.
The current balance of excavation work records almost 70 complete mammoth skeletons, 15 human burials and partial remains of at least 60 other animals including mammoths, bison and camels.
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