from the could-have-used-trunkquilizer-darts dept.
This past weekend, archaeologists uncovered a pair of 15,000 year old artificial Mammoth Traps near Mexico City.
Early settlers of the Mexico Basin subdued giant mammoths by digging out deep, wide trenches and then driving the animals into the pits, according to a press release issued by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Scientists with INAH worked at these pits for the past 10 months, pulling out over 800 mammoth bones, some of which exhibited signs of hunting and possibly ritualistic rearrangement.
Two mammoth pits, and possibly a third, were found at the Tultepec II site, which is around 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Mexico City.
According to INAH archaeologist and team leader Córdoba Barradas,
This is the first recorded use of pitfalls to capture mammoths—a strategy known to have been employed by African hunters to trap elephants, as described in a 2018 paper published in the science journal Quaternary
Barradas and his colleagues state that there is evidence the paleolithic site was in use for over 500 years and there is likely more to be uncovered in the area.
There is a particular mystery, he said, over why the haul only includes shoulder blades from the right side. "The left shoulder blades are missing – why?" he asked.
Bones from a camel and horse were also found at the site (these species later became extinct in the Americas.)
Also at The Guardian