Ice Age Mammoth, Camelid and Giant Wolf Fossils Found in Mexico
Mammoths are among the best-known of all pre-historic animals and they have fascinated scientists and the public for generations. Some remains of the tusks of these Ice Age creatures have recently been found in Mexico. Curiously, the remains of the mammoths were found with those of a camel, a dog, and a huge wolf. This unusual find is expected to reveal much about the Ice Age in Mexico.
The discovery was made in the Puebla municipality in central Mexico. It was made in the suburb Chietla by local residents. According to Mexico News Daily, the residents, “discovered dozens of fossils near the Chiquihuitepec hill in the Alseseca river basin area.” The find was made by members of the Tepalcaytol Association, a local non-profit organization that seeks to recover and preserve the heritage of Puebla.
Fossils of Mammoths
In total, they found a number of Columbian Mammoth tusks, that have been fossilized. They are not complete, and some have been broken and damaged. The tusks were found with some other bones that came from a number of mammoths. It is believed that the remains could be up to 14,000 years old and date to the last Ice Age when these giant beasts once roamed over North America.
There have been a number of other finds of mammoths in recent years in Mexico. Numerous bones and fossils of the Ice Age beasts were found in a rubbish dump in the village of Tultepec, in Mexico State, this year. In 2016, in the same village, drainage works revealed the remains of a large mammoth was found in what was once a freshwater lake.
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Remains of mammoth found in Tultepec, Mexico State in 2016. (Mauricio Marat / INAH)
Why was a mammoth, wolf and a camel in one spot?
It was not only mammoth remains that were uncovered, in Puebla, over 130 fossils were uncovered at the site. According to El Universal, the fossils of a ‘camelid, a dog and giant wolf’ was also unearthed by the volunteers. It was initially perplexing, as to why these very different animals should all be found together. The giant wolf would have been the natural enemy of the camel and the mammoth. However, some of the other items found at the Alseseca site may offer an answer.
The animals remains were also found with lithic flints - primitive stone tools made by humans. Aguilar is quoted by the Mexico Daily News as saying that some of the fossil remains have ‘arrowhead indentations’. These would indicate that the remains found at the site were the victims of Ice Age hunters, like the mammoth found in Tultepec, 2016. Therefore, it is highly likely that the camel, the giant wolf, and mammoth were all killed and butchered by humans and left in the one spot.
Concerns for the bones
The new discoveries were all made in the past 18 months. The volunteers are still working in the area and finding more remains. Mexico News Daily quotes the Tepalcaytol Association secretary Héctor Aguilar Rosas, as stating that “different pieces continue to be found.” However, no central record of the finds has been made and it is feared that some fossils and finds have been kept in people’s homes.
Many of the remains including the fossils of the tusks have been transferred to a government building for safekeeping. They are being stored in a special room that will help to preserve the fossils.
The fossils have been examined by researchers from the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla. They and the Tepalcaytol Association presented the fossils to the public at an event organized by the Municipality.
The volunteers who made this astonishing discovery have asked the Puebla Municipality for support to build a museum according to El Universal. They want to exhibit the fossils and others remains, along with relics of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures that once flourished in Puebla. The non-profit organization is confident that more mammoths and other bones could be found at the location.
Top image: Mammoth tusk found with the local residents who made the discovery. Source: El Quito Medio
By Ed Whelan