A genuine “elephant graveyard” was uncovered near Swindon.
Contrary to popular belief, wooly mammoths were not around at the same time as the dinosaurs. They’re also not the same thing as mastodons, despite what Power Rangers taught me. But even if they’re not from the same age as the giant lizards, their remains are no less fascinating and informative, especially when they’re found in near-pristine condition. Thanks to a recent discovery, the scientific community now has five more of such mammoth skeletons to study.
In a quarry located near the English town of Swindon, crowdsourced archaeological and paleontological society DigVentures successfully excavated the near-complete remains of five mammoths: a baby, two children, and two adults. The researchers have ballparked the remains to be anywhere from 210,000 to 220,000 years old.
According to Professor Ben Garrod, the fossils are “one of the most important discoveries in British paleontology.”
“Where these mammoths lie in the ground is exactly where they died a quarter of a million years ago,” he said. “Next to incredible things like stone tools and the snails they trampled underfoot.”
Indeed, to make matters more interesting, not far from the mammoth remains, several stone tools believed to be utilized by Neanderthals were also uncovered, suggesting some manner of interaction between them and the mammoths. The researchers are planning to analyze the bones to determine if there are any scratches or stabs that originated from the tools.
“Finding mammoth bones is always extraordinary, but finding ones that are so old and well preserved, and in such close proximity to Neanderthal stone tools is exceptional,” Lisa Westcott Wilkins, the co-founder of DigVentures, said in a statement.