These images show the fossilised remains of a 10,000-year-old mastodon unearthed by a family of farmers who were digging a hole on their land.
The startling discovery was made when father Basilio Honorato Cisneros was showing his 13-year-old son how to build a lime kiln on their property in the General Felipe Angeles municipality in the central Mexican state of Puebla. A lime kiln is used for the calcination of limestone (calcium carbonate) to produce the form of lime called quicklime (calcium oxide).
They were reportedly digging out an area rich with clay when they found a rigid material, which they thought at first was a tree root.
They continued digging around it and found the complete jaw, the skull and two tusks measuring 2.5 metres in length of a mastodon. Mastodons inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene or late Pliocene up to their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 to 11,000 years ago and are distantly related to elephants.
Cisneros told reporters: “We were digging and made a circle of around 20 metres in diameter to totally uncover the mastodon. The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) came to check if it is a fossil. We are proud because not just anyone has the chance to find or see something like this.”
Paeleantologist Ivan Alarcon Duran from the INAH told reporters: “With the molar characteristics that can be seen on the jaw, they coincide with a mastodon, which refers to a species of American mammoth. It is similar to the mammoth but smaller and the tusks are different.”
The family asked for the help of Public Security officers to secure the remains and prevent them from being robbed.
The discovered remains are being analysed and local media report initial findings suggest they belong to a male from over 10,000 years ago. The team from the INAH are continuing to work in the area of the discovery to see if more fossils can be found.
It is unclear if the fossils will be displayed after being analysed.
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Story By: Alex Cope, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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