Carcass of rare southern mammoth found in Russia's Caucasus
In the Terek region of Kabardino-Balkaria, near the village of Verkhny Kurp, local researchers - Maria and Victor Kotlyarovs - discovered the remains of the rare southern mammoth.
"A mammoth tusk that was bared as a result of the cliff collapse was preserved whole, thanks to the clay shell. A part of the other tusk - more than one meter in length - fell apart into many small pieces due to lack of conservation. We only managed to photograph the bone before it fell apart," Victor Kotlyarov told ITAR-TASS news agency.
"Most likely, there is not just one carcass, but a whole cemetery of prehistoric animals there," said Kotlyarov. Local residents have repeatedly found large bones in the area, including ribs, teeth and vertebrae.
"Some villagers used the found vertebrae in households as stools," the researcher said. He believes that paleontological excavations in the area can reveal many new things about the past of the Caucasus.
The southern mammoth, or the southern elephant, is an animal up to four meters tall. Its curved tusks are about the same length. The extinct giant lived on the planet from 2.6 to 0.7 million years ago.
The southern elephant left the African homeland of mammoths and found itself in Eurasia, where climate used to be quite moderate two million years ago.
Seven relatively whole carcasses of the southern elephant have been uncovered in the world so far. Three of them are in Russia, two in Italy, one in France and one in Serbia.