Archaeologists working in Santa Lucia, a town located roughly 30 miles from Mexico City, Mexico, recently came upon quite the discovery after managing to dig up more than 60 remains belonging to the long-extinct Columbian mammoth.
The team, which consists of some 31 archaeologists and three restorers, made their grand discovery at a vast construction site that is in the progress of turning the defunct Santa Lucia Air Force Base into the Felipe Angeles International Airport. Excavators have been working at the site since April 2019, according to Mexican news outlet Excelsior.
Researchers have indicated that nearly all the unearthed bones belong to the Columbian mammoth, and archaeologists estimate they date back 15,000 years. The remains were reportedly dug up in the area where the airport’s tower and runways are meant to be constructed.
Images shared on social media of the find offer a peek at the massive tusks of one mammoth, whereas other images show the intricate designs of a vessel discovered at the site.
Durante los trabajos para construir el nuevo Aeropuerto Internacional «General Felipe Ángeles», en Santa Lucía, Estado…
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Aside from mammoth bones, officials found the remains of a bison, a camel, a horse and a canid, a carnivorous member of the canine family. Additionally, excavators were able to unearth more than a dozen human burial sites that included vessels.
Pedro Francisco Sanchez Nava, an archaeologist associated with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, told Excelsior that the greatest challenge the team encountered was the site itself, as the “wealth of the fauna and vestiges has been more than what [the team] had considered.”
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Nava further explained that he believed the site would be rich in remains from the Pleistocene Era because it was the grounds for the Xaltocan Lake, which was later used as a trapping site for mammoths once the lakebed dried up.
In fact, the team reported in December 2019 that they had discovered a variety of animal bones at the site. It’s speculated that the animals ultimately died after becoming stuck in the ancient lake’s muddy remains.
Moving forward, Nava indicated that researchers would continue to work in coordination with officials who are building the new civilian airport.
“To say that we have not influenced the performance of the work is to lie, but we are working in coordination with those responsible for the work,” he told Excelsior. “We are able to continue at our own pace without having much influence on the [airport] work.”
As for the new fossils, additional examinations will be conducted by the team.