It’s one thing to uncover a fossil or two on your archaeological dig. However, It’s one thing to uncover a fossil or two on your archaeological dig. However, scientists had quite a surprise when they uncovered a massive mammoth graveyard in Swindon, a southwest England town.
The mammoth “graveyard” previously lay home to five individuals within the prehistoric species. According to Live Science, researchers uncovered an infant and two individual juvenile mammoths, as well as two adults. As to their age, scientists estimated the creatures had died between 220,000 and 210,000 years ago. This places their deaths toward the end of the warm period during our planet’s last ice age.
Of the mammoths themselves, the extinct animals were small in stature. That is, compared to the standard 13.1-foot height scientists typically find the mammoths to be. They reason the group’s small size could have resulted from an intense cold spell taking place during the ice age.
Further, the discovery of the mammoth graveyard is truly remarkable. However, archaeologists also uncovered a collection of Neanderthal stone tools at the site. The outlet reported excavators found a hand ax as well as small flint tools. The archaeologists identified these as scrapers, previously used to clean fresh animal hides.
In regard to the overall site, Lisa Westcott Wilkins, co-founder for DigVentures, in charge of leading the investigation, said, “Finding mammoth bones is always extraordinary.”
Although, she added, “but finding ones that are so old and well-preserved, and in such close proximity to Neanderthal stone tools is exceptional.”
From here, Live Science states the archaeological team plan to explore a) why so many mammoths died in one spot and b) if the Neanderthals hunted the creatures or scavenged their remains.
Enormous Wooly Mammoth Fossils Found in Yukon
The small herd of mammoths located in Britain is surely remarkable. However, over the summer, miners in the Yukon uncovered another unlikely find.
In May, miners digging on the Indian River located the remains of what could have belonged to potentially five mammoths. While finding mammoth remains is exceptionally fascinating, the miners’ discovery was unique. Many of the skeletons’ bones were still intact.
Upon the mammoths’ original discovery, paleontologist Grant Zazula believed the remains belonged to a mother and its offspring. However, after further digging and examination, it’s believed as many as five individual mammoths were located along the river.
Much like the discovery in Britain, Zazula said, “You never find a complete skeleton, so finding two partial skeletons, they probably died together.” Now, again like the English mammoth graveyard, scientists plan to examine both the volcanic ash found on the creatures’ remains in addition to determining whether or not they had been attacked by predators.
Nevertheless, wherever the Yukon investigation might lead, the paleontologist said, “[It] is super exciting. It can lead to all kinds of questions. We have all this material now, and now it is basically a detective story to determine what was going on.”