15,000-year-old Mexican 'mammoth traps' unearthed

Clay Curtis
November 8, 2019

Mexico wasn't always a blistering-hot sunshine destination.

Anthropologists in Mexico have unearthed ancient pits used to trap mammoths.

"Mammoths lived here for thousands of years".

Archaeologists have recovered 824 bones from the pits in the neighborhood of Tultepec, just north of Mexico City.

Anthropologists in Mexico say they've uncovered more than 800 bones from 14 mammoths, in two human-made traps north of Mexico City, which are thought to be 15,000 years old. They were uncovered in pits measuring six feet deep and 25 yards in diameter in Tultepec.

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The latest discovery suggests, to the contrary, that some of the earliest settlers of the Basin of Mexico used the environment and social organization to systematically hunt woolly mammoths.

The bones of at least 14 mammoths bones were found in what is believed to be the first mammoth trap set by humans, in Tultepec, Mexico, in a photo released by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology (INAH).

Diego Prieto Hernández, director of the institute, said the discovery "represents a watershed, a turning point in what we until now imagined to be the interaction between hunter-gatherers with these huge herbivores". Remains of two other species that disappeared in the Americas - a horse and a camel - were also found.

Some bore signs that the animals had been hunted, leading experts to conclude that they had found "the world's first mammoth trap", it said. The end of that era saw dramatic shifts in the climate.

The dig site was slated to become a garbage dump, but the discovery put the plans on hold. Researchers also believe there may be more such traps in the area.

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