Archaeologists have unearthed the “near-pristine” remains of five Ice Age mammoths while excavating a newly discovered 200,000-year-old graveyard in the UK. Tools perhaps used by Neanderthals to hunt the animals were also found.
The remains, including those of two adults, two juveniles, and an infant, belong to a species of Steppe mammoth, an ancestor of the Woolly mammoth. More bones are expected to be uncovered as digging continues at the vast site, a gravel quarry in the Cotswolds area near the town of Swindon.
Researchers estimate the mammoth remains and stone tools to be around 220,000 years old. The site is thought to have once been a fertile plain to which both animals and Neanderthals were drawn as temperatures fell.
Ranking the find among the “most important discoveries in British palaeontology,” evolutionary biologist Ben Garrod told The Observer that finding such well-preserved skeletons was “incredibly rare.” He said the Steppe mammoths were the largest…