Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Mammoth traps near Mexico City are first ever found

Two mammoth traps have been found in Tultepec, México state, demonstrating that hunters in the late Pleistocene era used more sophisticated hunting methods than previously thought.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said this week that the traps are the first to be discovered anywhere in the world.

Workers found the 1.7-meter-deep pits in January on a municipal property about 40 kilometers north of Mexico City while preparing the land for a garbage dump.

During a 10-month excavation by INAH archaeologists, more than 800 bones from at least 14 mammoth skeletons as well as the jawbone and two vertebrae of a camel and the tooth of a horse were found in the traps, which were built about 15,000 years ago.

Archaeologists detected a spear wound on the front of one of the mammoth skulls they found.

Mammoth remains near Tultepec, México state.
Mammoth remains in Tultepec, México state. Luis Córdoba Barradas, inah

It is believed that hunters may have steered the now-extinct mammals into the traps using torches and branches.

Archaeologists previously thought that hunters only killed mammoths when they were easy targets because they were hurt or had been trapped naturally in swamplands or mud.

INAH director Diego Prieto said the discovery “represents a watershed, a turning point in what until now we imagined to be the interaction between hunter-gatherers with these huge herbivores.”

Luis Córdoba Barradas, leader of the excavation team, said that archaeologists believe that there could be three more mammoth traps in the area.

INAH archaeology coordinator Pedro Sánchez Nava said the site won’t be opened to the public but the remains will go on display at the Mammoth Museum in Tultepec.

A mammoth skeleton was previously found in Tultepec in 2016 just two kilometers from the site where the traps were discovered.

Bones from 14 mammoth skeletons have been found.
Bones from 14 mammoth skeletons have been found. Luis Córdoba Barradas, inah

Remains of the extinct mammals, ancestors of modern-day elephants, have also been found in other parts of Mexico including Puebla and Jalisco.

Source: El Universal (sp), BBC (en) 

Have something to say? Paid Subscribers get all access to make & read comments.

Periférico 2008.

Housing and sustainability: Eco-friendly places to live in Mexico

0
An increasing number of residential developments in Mexico have adopted sustainability practices. Find the best one for you.

Nice Day Coffee: A successful, expat-run business in Mexico City

0
One expat shares her personal experiences opening and running a successful coffee shop and bakery in Mexico City.
Classroom

Mexican students have fallen behind in test scores since 2018

1
The 2022 PISA assessment of 700,000 students in 81 countries found an overall decline in test scores since 2018, and ranked Mexico 51st on the list.