Science » Technologies and discoveries
Author`s name Ольга Савка

60,000-year-old mammoth bones uncovered in Russia

A group of workers was surprised to see a large bone in the excavator bucket

Specialists spend many months, looking for remnants of ancient animals that used to inhabit planet Earth. Scientists uncover bones of prehistoric animals, meticulously removing the ground from them. Paleontologists rejoice even if they find just several fragments of an animal carcass. However, common people can make such discoveries as well, albeit incidentally.

Workers that were digging a pit in the ground not far from the village of Vlasikha in the Altay region of Russia, discovered a perfectly preserved skeleton of a mammoth. The workers did not treat their finding carefully and uncovered the bones with an excavator.

Digging out the clay at the depth of about seven meters, the workers noticed that the excavators extracted a large bone, which did not look like a bone of a usual mammal. The workers decided to notify the local authorities and called a local police department. The police in their turn informed employees of the regional scientific center. When scientists arrived at the site of the finding, they examined the bones and concluded that they belonged to a mammoth.

Specialists believe that the mammoth drowned in a swamp 40-100 thousand years ago. The uncovered skeleton was therefore very well preserved. The workers, however, caused considerable damage to such an important paleontological discovery: the excavator bucket broke the skull of the mammoth to pieces. The workers decided to keep many bone pieces as souvenirs.

The scientists had to recreate the skeleton from bone fragments. It is noteworthy that it is not the first time, when mammoth bones are excavated in the region. A local museum already displays a skeleton of a previously-found mammoth. Scientists still do not know why mammoths became extinct in Russia's Altay region.

Mammoths became extinct about 10,000 years ago. The pre-historic animal inhabited the territory of North America, Europe and Asia. Specialists find mammoth bones on a rather frequent basis in Russia's Altay, although uncovering a full skeleton is an extremely rare occurrence.

A skeleton of a mammoth has been recently excavated under similar conditions in USA's Los Angeles. American workers treated the finding with greater respect and uncovered 75 percent of the skeleton, which they subsequently handed over to scientists.

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