Anthropologists have found skeletons of at least 14 woolly mammoths that died after falling into traps built by humans 15,000 years ago.
Researchers from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said on Wednesday (local time) the pits were found during excavations on land that was to be used as a garbage dump. The pit appears to have been fashioned in the bottom of a then-receded lake where unnatural 90-degree cuts are still evident, a sharp drop toward which hunters are thought to have driven the beasts.
Speaking to CNN he commented: "It represents a watershed, a touchstone for how we previously imagined groups of hunter-gatherers interacted with these enormous herbivores". They were uncovered in pits measuring six feet deep and 25 yards in diameter in Tultepec. Once the animal was trapped, it would be killed and eaten, with most parts of its body used for something.
Researchers think that groups of 20 or 30 prehistoric hunters herded the mammoths with torches and branches, attempting to separate one animal from the group and lead it into a trap.
The traps also contained remains of camels and a horse.
824 bones were recovered from the mammoth traps.
"They must have considered it courageous and ferocious, showing their respect with this particular arrangement", INAH archaeologist Luis Cordoba said.
Some of the bones showed evidence that the carcasses were butchered, indicating that the site may have been a mammoth trap set by humans.
Builders working on the capital's metro system in the 1970s found mammoth bones at Talismán station. Noteworthy is the fact that the animals some 14,000 years ago, most likely due to man-made, are to be killed.