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News Around the Republic of Mexico 

60 Mammoths Found Under Future Mexico City Airport

May 27, 2020

The bones, found in what will be the future airport, date from about 15,000 years ago, according to The National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico (Photo:
Mexico City - Archaeologists have found the remains of more than 60 mammoths at the site of the new Felipe Angeles International Airport that is being built to serve Mexico City.

The area was previously submerged under Lake Xaltocan, part of the Mexican basin and a focal point of the country's pre-Columbian civilization.

Excavators from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have been searching for remains of Pleistocene-era animals at the site, some 50 kilometers north of the capital, since April 2019, when work started to convert the Santa Lucia air force base into a civilian airport.

In December, the team reported that the bones of a about a dozen specimens had been discovered, but over the last six months, the bones of 60 of the huge, extinct herbivores have been unearthed.

Other types of fauna were also found, such as bison, camels and horses, as well as human bones buried in the pre-Hispanic era and various artifacts.

Mammoth hunting traps, believed to have been dug shortly after the lake dried up, were found about six miles (10km) away from the site in the hamlet of San Antonio Xahuento last year. Those pits, found during excavations for a garbage dump, were filled with bones from at least 14 mammoths, and some of the animals appeared to have been butchered.

Thought to be more than 15,000 years old, almost all of the giant skeletons are believed to belong to the Colombian mammoth species.

The newly discovered remains were found in the area where the new airport's control tower and runways will be located. The discoveries are not expected to slow the construction down. The airport project is scheduled for completion in 2022, at which time the excavation will end.

The new Felipe Angeles International Airport will serve low cost and regional airlines and is part of a government plan to ease congestion at Mexico's main international airport.