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Mexican anthropologists say they have found two human-built pits dug 15,000 years ago to trap mammoths.

Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said Wednesday the pits were found during excavations on land that was to be used as a garbage dump.

The pits, filled with bones from at least 14 mammoths, were found in the neighborhood of Tultepec, just north of Mexico City. Some of the animals were apparently butchered.

Mexican anthropologists say they have found two human-built pits dug 15,000 years ago to trap mammoths

Mexican anthropologists say they have found two human-built pits dug 15,000 years ago to trap mammoths

Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology (INAH) photograph shows mammoth tusks in Tultepec, Mexico

Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology (INAH) photograph shows mammoth tusks in Tultepec, Mexico

An expert working on mammoth bones in Tultepec, Mexico, where the bones of at least 14 mammoths, who would have lived more than 14,000 years ago, were found in what is believed to be the first find of a mammoth trap set by humans

An expert working on mammoth bones in Tultepec, Mexico, where the bones of at least 14 mammoths, who would have lived more than 14,000 years ago, were found in what is believed to be the first find of a mammoth trap set by humans 

Researchers from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said Wednesday the pits were found during excavations on land that was to be used as a garbage dump

Researchers from Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History said Wednesday the pits were found during excavations on land that was to be used as a garbage dump

The pits were about six feet deep and 25 yards in diameter. The institute said hunters may have chased mammoths into the traps

The pits were about six feet deep and 25 yards in diameter. The institute said hunters may have chased mammoths into the traps

Remains of two other species that disappeared in the Americas - a horse and a camel - were also found

Remains of two other species that disappeared in the Americas – a horse and a camel – were also found

The pits were about six feet deep and 25 yards in diameter. The institute said hunters may have chased mammoths into the traps. 

Remains of two other species that disappeared in the Americas – a horse and a camel – were also found.

It was unclear if plans for the dump would proceed.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE WOOLLY MAMMOTH?

The woolly mammoth roamed the icy tundra of Europe and North America for 140,000 years, disappearing at the end of the Pleistocene period, 10,000 years ago.

They are one of the best understood prehistoric animals known to science because their remains are often not fossilised but frozen and preserved.

Males were around 12 feet (3.5m) tall, while the females were slightly smaller.

Curved tusks were up to 16 feet (5m) long and their underbellies boasted a coat of shaggy hair up to 3 feet (1m) long.

Tiny ears and short tails prevented vital body heat being lost.

Their trunks had ‘two fingers’ at the end to help them pluck grass, twigs and other vegetation.

The Woolly Mammoth is are one of the best understood prehistoric animals known to science because their remains are often not fossilised but frozen and preserved (artist's impression)

The Woolly Mammoth is are one of the best understood prehistoric animals known to science because their remains are often not fossilised but frozen and preserved (artist’s impression)

They get their name from the Russian ‘mammut’, or earth mole, as it was believed the animals lived underground and died on contact with light – explaining why they were always found dead and half-buried.

Their bones were once believed to have belonged to extinct races of giants.

Woolly mammoths and modern-day elephants are closely related, sharing 99.4 per cent of their genes.

The two species took separate evolutionary paths six million years ago, at about the same time humans and chimpanzees went their own way.

Woolly mammoths co-existed with early humans, who hunted them for food and used their bones and tusks for making weapons and art. 

DailyMail Online


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