Ancient humans may have slaughtered the ice-age mammoth, whose bones were found last week by two farmers from Michigan.
Daniel Fisher, a palaeontologist at the University of Michigan, stated that: “We think that humans were here and may have butchered and stashed the meat [in a pond] so that they could come back later for it.”
The Detroit Free press stated that September 28, James Bristor who is the property owner, and his neighbour Trent Satterthwaite found the ice-ace mammoth bones as they were installing a drainage pipe at Bristor’s farm. Bristor discovered the 3 feet (1 meter) long pelvis of a mammoth, before contacting the University of Michigan.
Fifteen palaeontologists and students at the University of Michigan rushed to the farm and started carefully excavating the mammoth bones. They only had one day to get all the bones, because of the busy farming season.
The palaeontologists managed to find the skull, pelvis, some ribs, vertebrates, both tusks, and both shoulder blades which accounted for about 20 percent of the ice-age mammoth bones.
According to Fisher, the mammoth remains could show some evidence of human activity. For instance, the palaeontologists found three large boulders next to the mammoth bones, which may suggest that they were used by humans to keep the mammoth’s carcass in the pond (where they stored it).
The anatomical arrangement of the neck vertebrae is also evidence that ancient humans stored the mammoth’s carcass in a pond, because had the mammoth died from natural causes, its vertebrae would have been scattered all over the place, Fisher explained.
In addition, a stone flake was also uncovered next to the tusks, which was probably used by ancient people as a cutting tool, Fisher stated.
In order to uncover more evidence that would support their theory, the next step for the researchers it to clean the bones and look for any man-made cut marks. A closer analysis of the bones will also enable the palaeontologists to determine what kind of mammoth it was – Jeffersonian mammoth or woolly mammoth.
Fisher said that about 30 mastodons and 300 mammoths have already been found in Michigan. Mammoths used to live in North America, but they went extinct approximately 11,700 years ago.
Image Source: cdn.history