Archaeologists in hard hats and face masks carefully remove dirt from around the giant skeletons at Mexico City’s new airport, where construction work has uncovered a huge collection of mammoth bones.
At the site of Mexico City’s new airport, a huge mammoth graveyard has been found.
In Zumpango, on the northern edge of the capital, which is built on an old lake bed, the bones of dozens of extinct giants and other prehistoric animals have been found.
“More than 100 individual mammoths, camels, horses, bison, fish, birds, antelopes, and rodents have already been found,” said army captain Jesus Cantoral, who is in charge of the excavation team.
Since the first bones were found in October of last year during work on a fuel terminal, he told AFP, they have been found in 194 different places on the site.
Scientists think that most animals lived on Earth between 10,000 and 25,000 years ago.
Experts worked carefully to get the bones out of one of the mammoth skeletons, being careful not to move a mound of dirt that was holding up another specimen.
At the same time, thousands of construction workers were still hard at work all over the site, and dozens of excavators and trucks were still moving dirt and moving building materials.
The authorities say they have kept a close eye on the valuable remains to make sure they are safe while the airport is being built. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said the airport will open in March 2022.
Experts think that a lake that was there in prehistoric times brought the extinct giants there.
Stuck in mud
Experts think that a lake that was there in prehistoric times brought food and water to the area, which is why the mammoths were there.
Archaeologist Araceli Yanez said, “The place had a lot of natural resources, enough for these people to live there for a long time and for many generations.”
She said that the lake area got muddy in the winter, trapping the big animals, which then went hungry.
“It attracted a lot of mammoths, and some of them got stuck and died here, like this one,” Yanez said.
The lake was also a great place to keep the bones.
At the site, the bones of camels, horses, bison, fish, birds, antelopes, and rodents from the past have also been found.
There have been surprising finds of mammoths in Mexico in the past.
In the 1970s, workers digging on the north side of Mexico City to build a subway found the bones of a mammoth.
In 2012, people digging outside the capital to build a wastewater treatment plant found the bones of hundreds of mammoths and other Ice Age animals.
The government plans to put the old bones on display at an airport museum.
In 2019, archaeologists found the bones of 14 mammoths in Tultepec, which is near where the new airport will be built.
Experts thought at the time that they had found “the world’s first mammoth trap” because some of the bones showed signs that the animals had been hunted.
The government started building the new airport hub at the Santa Lucia military airbase in 2019, a few months after stopping work on another airport that was almost done.
Lopez Obrador, who ran for office on a platform of austerity and fighting corruption, had said that the project pushed by his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, was a wasteful mega-project that was corrupted.
His government has given the job of building the new airport to the military. The new airport will have a museum where the mammoth skeletons and other ancient remains will be shown.