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14,000 year old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved


Experts in Mexico have stepped up work on the remains of a 14,000-year-old mammoth that archaeologists say could shed new light on primitive humans.

14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
The Columbian mammoth skull and tusks was discovered just 2m beneath the street in 2015 
[Credit: AFP/Getty]
The remains of the mammoth were found near the town of Tultepec in 2016 during piping work. Since then, experts have been working delicately to best preserve its fossilised bones.

The mammoth's home is now in a municipal building in the town where members of the public can see for themselves the restoration work involved in preserving the remains of the mighty beast.

14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
A restorer works on the cranium of a mammoth (Mammuthus Columbi) in Tultepec, 
on the outskirts of Mexico City [Credit: Carlos Jasso/Reuters]
Archaeologists have claimed the discovery of the remains to be one of the most important in the country. The mammoth was found cut up into pieces, indicating the presence of ancient humans in Mexico 14,000 years ago.

“We see the bones are mixed up; they are not in anatomical order, so analysing them, you can reach the conclusion that it was partially cut up by hunters and gatherers at the time,” said Luis Cordoba, the archaeologist in charge of restoring the mammoth‘s remains.

14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
Restorers work on the cranium of a mammoth (Mammuthus Columbi) in Tultepec, 
on the outskirts of Mexico City [Credit: Carlos Jasso/Reuters]
The last mammoths died off some 5,000 years ago.

Although the area around modern-day Tultepec is dry, in prior eras it was believed to be lush and with ample water supply.

14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
Restorers carry a tusk of a mammoth (Mammuthus Columbi) in Tultepec, 
on the outskirts of Mexico City [Credit: Carlos Jasso/Reuters]
Excavation work of the subsoil has revealed new evidence of the region of Tultepec during themammoth‘s life.

“The discovery in Tultepec is important because it indirectly supports the presence of humans 14,000 years ago. In the case of the Tultepec mammoth and given the stratigraphic register various natural layers have been identified during different excavation,” he added.

14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
14,000-year-old mammoth found in Mexico carefully preserved
The remains of a mammoth (Mammuthus Columbi) are pictured in Tultepec, 
on the outskirts of Mexico City [Credit: Carlos Jasso/Reuters]
Preliminary investigations have reported that the woolly mammal was born about 25 years old, is 3.5 metres (11.5 feet) high and five metres (16.5 feet) long. It is estimated to have weighed five tonnes.

Experts hope the remains of the mammoth to be in good enough condition to be assembled and put on display. But 14,000 years later, the fragility of the bones requires precision.



“We are talking about 14,000 years ago so it is a very considerable period of time. The affect (on the bones) over such a period is that the bones are very sensitive but pedagogically the sediment that was found for it to be at the bottom of a lake and the level of the mud, in reality this helped to conserve it better,” said assistant archaeologist, Felipe Munos.

Mexico was a hotspot for dinosaur activity. Off the coast of Yucatan is the Chicxulub crater, the remains of the asteroid the reportedly hurtled to Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs.

Source: Reuters [March 15, 2017]
TANN

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