Discovery in Mexico: the remains of 14 mammoths in hunter traps

Tultepec has officially become a land of mammoths. Last February, while workers from municipality were trying to build a dump, at a depth of 5 meters, they made the notorious discovery of the bone remains. «They are approximately 15,000 years ago», Luis Córdoba, a researcher at the Archaeological Rescue Department of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (INAH in spanish), in charge of the excavation announced recently. The more than ten months of work by archaeologists have revealed something unprecedented: for the first time mammoth bones have been found in traps dug by hunters. New thing about this discovery is that it is the proof that these animal were not hunted only by accident, or by scaring them then they could fall in swamps or cliffs.

Now Mexico join a select group of countries such as United States and Russia, where major remains discoveries have been made. The discovery «represents a watershed» in the study of Prehistory, said Pedro Sánchez Nava, coordinator of Archeology at INAH, in a statement. The excavations speak for the first time of the way in which the inhabitants of 15,000 years ago related to these animals, how they hunted them in order to feed themselves. «This finding changes that random and eventual scene that the textbooks handled on the Mammoth hunting: that of an animal that was attacked only when it fell in a swamp», celebrates Sánchez Nava. Remains have been found in what researchers believe are graves, used thousands of years ago by hunters as traps wich the animals should be led to so they could be killed. «Until now it was thought that they were scared to fall into a swamp or waiting for them to die, but a direct attack was never suggested», says Córdoba, «although here is the proof that there were direct attacks».

Effects of climate change

Archaeologists said that this bones date back to the Glacial Maximum, a time when earth was so arid that lakes within massive regions became dry. Supposedly, at that time there was a lake, Xaltocan, wich was located where Tultepec is today, then it dropped and the bottom became a large plain. «That’s where they took the hunter gatherers to dig the traps, at the bottom of what had been the lake». The key to determine which part of the land was a natural formation and which was man made was to analyze the composition of the earth around the discovery site.

The researchers hypothesis suggests that the traps found by the hunter gatherers are not isolated attempts, but «a set of traps in line very well posed by the hunters». INAH said too that they have information about at least three other places around Tultepec where there may be more remains. All 10 kilometers from the Santa Lucia air base, where President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has begun to build the international airport of the Mexican capital.

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