The skeletons of more than 100 mammoths have been found at the construction site of Mexico City's latest commercial airport. Teams of archaeologists are now examining nearly 200 excavation sites, where the bones, mixed with other Ice Age mammals, have been discovered.
Senior archaeologist Ruben Manzanilla told Reuters this week that some 24,000 years ago, mammoth herds reached Mexico City, where vast grasslands and many lakes would made for an enticing habitat.
“This place was like a paradise,” he said. As Ice Age glaciers melted, a large range of mammals including camels, horses and bison lived on what at the time would have been a shoreline.
“Then over many years the same story repeated itself: The animals ventured too far, got trapped and couldn’t get their legs out of the muck,” he said.
That is most likely how they died, he surmised.
The large number of bones, including long, curling tusks, came as a surprise to excavators. “We had the idea that we’d find mammoth remains, but not this many,” he said.