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In The Mountains Of Chile, Extinct Elephants Were Hunted During The Stone Age

diegograndi - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only

More than 12,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers from the Stone Age slaughtered and prepared a now-extinct elephant relative at a site in South America.

Recently, archaeologists discovered the prehistoric camp in the Tagua Tagua Lake region, which is located in the mountains of central Chile. The lake bed itself is now dried up.

The camp dates back to between 12,440 and 12,550 years ago. It contains a variety of archaeological remnants, including the fossilized remains of a gomphothere, an extinct relative of modern elephants.

Gomphotheres were widespread across North America and Afro-Eurasia from as early as the latter half of the Oligocene epoch to the late Pleistocene and early Holocene epochs.

These animals had tusks and trunks similar to the elephants we see today, but some gomphothere species had special teeth that would help them eat certain types of vegetation.

At the Tagua Tagua site, researchers saw signs of butchery on the gomphothere bones. The bones were found next to stone tools and other remains.

The evidence suggests that the site was used as a temporary camp primarily associated with the hunting of the gomphothere and the preparation of its carcass, so prehistoric hunter-gatherers did not occupy the camp for very long.

They could have stayed at the camp for more than a week to finish the process of stripping the meat from the bones and to complete additional activities, possibly including feasts.

Other activities at the site involved the processing of different foods, as indicated by the charred remains of plants and small animals, such as birds and frogs.

diegograndi – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only

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