Mexico finds human-built 'mammoth traps' 15000 years old


Archeologists have discovered the bones of at least 14 mammoths in two ancient hunting pits north of Mexico City, where it's believed that humans trapped the elephant-like beasts for food in prehistoric times.

Layers of ash from the eruption of Popocatepetl, 14,700 years ago, were found above and between layers of mammoth bones, which suggests the pits were in use for at least 500 years.

Mexican researchers from the National Institute of Anthropology and History disclosed on November 6 that the human-made pits were found during excavations on the land which was used to be a garbage dump.

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 skeletal remains were found in Tultepec, near the site where President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's Government is building a new airport for Mexico City. Each pit is about 1.7 meters deep and 25 meters in diameter.

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"Mammoths lived here for thousands of years".

Archaeologists thought early humans only killed mammoths if the animals were trapped or hurt. The herds grew, reproduced, died, were hunted. Along with mammoths, other species that went extinct in the Americas were a horse and a camel, and remains of their bones were also found by the scientists.

"There was little evidence before that hunters attacked mammoths". Radar surveys of surrounding mammoth grave sites could reveal the presence of similar traps.

It's unclear if plans for the dump will be altered to accommodate the site.