15,000-year-old mammoth traps are first proof of ancient hunters

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Mexico wasn't always a blistering-hot sunshine destination.

The two pits in Tultepec north of Mexico City are the first mammoth traps to be discovered, officials say.

Anthropologists have found skeletons of at least 14 woolly mammoths that died after falling into traps built by humans 15,000 years ago.

Previously, anthropologists and archaeologists surmised that mammoth hunting mostly happened on accident, or serendipitously.

During 10 months of excavations of the site, which was due to become a landfill, 824 bones have so far been found in traps 5.5 feet deep and 82 feet long. Along with mammoths, other species that went extinct in the Americas were a horse and a camel, and remains of their bones were also found by the scientists. A series of such traps in the area may have increased hunters' mammoth-trapping success rate.

The land where the ancient pits and trapped mammoths were found is located in the neighborhood of Tultepec, a few miles north of Mexico City.

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The discovery marks a turning point in how we understand the relationship between mammoths and humans during our hunter-gatherer phase, according to Pedro Francisco Sanchez Nava, national co-ordinator of archeology at the INAH.

Archeologists found evidence that the rib bones were used to cut mammoth meat, and internal organs were also eaten.

It is believed there are more mammoth traps nearby because workers who built the capital's metro system in the 1970s found bones at Talismán station, CNN reported.

The site dates back to the late Pleistocene, better known as the last ice age, when glaciers blanketed much of the Earth.

It was unclear if plans for the dump would proceed.