A mammoth and humans on the banks of the Marne

Related Articles

Mammuthus primigenius : Inr

A nearly complete mammoth skeleton has just been uncovered at Changis-sur-Marne in the Seine-et-Marne department. This type of discovery, in its original context, is exceptional in France since only three specimens have been found in 150 years: the first such discovery, known as “the mammoth of Choulans”, was discovered in Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon in 1859.

This mammoth is probably a Mammuthus primigenius, a wooly mammoth with long tusks that were used to expose edible vegetation under the snow. These animals could attain 2.8 to 3.4 meters high at their withers and were covered with fur and a thick layer of fat. They usually lived in grassy steppe environments.

Credit : Inrap

This species lived in Eurasia and North America. The mammoth of Changis-sur-Marne lived between 200,000 and 50,000 years ago, at the same time as Neandertals. Mammoths were well adapted to cold climates and thus disappeared from western Europe 10,000 years ago when the climate became warmer. The most recent specimen died off the coast of the Bering Strait, 3700 years ago.

Mammoths and humans

The current excavation will enable archaeologists to clarify the age of the probscidian and perhaps the circumstances of its death: did it drown, or was it trapped in mud? Was it hunted or scavenged by predators? A usewear analysis of the flint flake will be performed to determine its function and a zooarchaeological study will detect possible cut marks on the bones.
 

Credit : Inrap

The discovery at Changis-sur-Marne is exceptional since humans and mammoths have been found together at only two Middle Paleolithic sites in western Europe: Lehringen and Gröbern in Germany. There is also the site of Ranville, in the Calvados region, where an ancient elephant (Elephas antiquus) was scavenged approximately 220,000 years ago. Finally, the excavation at Tourville-la-Rivière, in the Seine-Maritime department, recently uncovered aurochs, horses, bears, lions and panthers that were transported by the Seine, 200,000 years ago. Neandertals, who were fine connoisseurs of their territory, recovered several resources (meat, tendons, hide, etc.) from this natural jackpot.

Credit : Inrap

In the near future, archaeologists and paleontologists should be able to determine whether the mammoth of Changis was killed by Neandertals, or whether they scavenged the animal after its natural death. This discovery will contribute to the debate among scientists concerning the predatory skills of Neandertals. The ultimate challenge is to determine the precise date of the event, using radiometric and chrono-stratigraphic methods.

The excavation of Changis-sur-Marne

The animal was discovered in a quarry in Changis-sur-Marne during the preventive excavation of a Gallo-Roman site, which is itself remarkable. The first bones appeared in the front cut of the quarry. Due to the interest of this discovery, the Regional Direction of Cultral Affairs (Drac) of Île-de-France organized a preventive operation, realized conjointly by the Drac and the Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives (Inrap), with the collaboration of the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, the physical geography laboratory of the CNRS in Meudon and the CEMEX, who is exploiting the quarry. This is the first excavation of its kind in France. It will be completed in early November.

Contributing Source : INRAP

HeritageDaily : Palaeontology News : Palaeontology Press Releases

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic

LATEST NEWS

Archaeologists Excavate 1,600-Year-Old Burial Containing Ornate Treasures

Archaeologists excavating a burial ground have discovered a grave containing ornate grave goods from the 5th century AD, a period of instability during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.

Archaeologists Discover Ancient Settlements Associated With “Polish Pyramids”

Archaeologists conducting a detailed study of the area near the Kujawy megalithic tombs, dubbed the “Polish Pyramids”, have identified the associated settlements of the tomb builders.

Rocky Planet Discovered in Virgo Constellation Could Change Search For Life in Universe

A newly discovered planet could be our best chance yet of studying rocky planet atmospheres outside the solar system, a new international study involving UNSW Sydney shows.

Sungbo’s Eredo – The “Queen of Sheba’s Embankment”

Sungbo’s Eredo is one of the largest man-made monuments in Africa, consisting of a giant system of ditches and embankments that surrounds the entire ljebu Kingdom in the rain forests of south-western Nigeria.

Woolly Mammoths May Have Shared the Landscape With First Humans in New England

Woolly mammoths may have walked the landscape at the same time as the earliest humans in what is now New England, according to a Dartmouth study published in Boreas.

Prehistoric killing machine exposed

Judging by its massive, bone-crushing teeth, gigantic skull and powerful jaw, there is no doubt that the Anteosaurus, a premammalian reptile that roamed the African continent 265 to 260 million years ago - during a period known as the middle Permian - was a ferocious carnivore.

Noushabad – The Hidden Underground City

Noushabed, also called Oeei or Ouyim is an ancient subterranean city, built beneath the small town of Nushabad in present-day Iran.

10 British Iron Age Hill Forts

A hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage.

Popular stories

Noushabad – The Hidden Underground City

Noushabed, also called Oeei or Ouyim is an ancient subterranean city, built beneath the small town of Nushabad in present-day Iran.

Ani – The Abandoned Medieval City

Ani is a ruined medieval city, and the former capital of the Bagratid Armenian kingdom, located in the Eastern Anatolia region of the Kars province in present-day Turkey.

Interactive Map of Earth’s Asteroid and Meteor Impact Craters

Across the history of our planet, around 190 terrestrial impact craters have been identified that still survive the Earth’s geological processes, with the most recent event occurring in 1947 at the Sikhote-Alin Mountains of south-eastern Russia.

The Sunken Town of Pavlopetri

Pavlopetri, also called Paulopetri, is a submerged ancient town, located between the islet of Pavlopetri and the Pounta coast of Laconia, on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece.