'Mammoth traps' built by prehistoric hunters discovered in Mexico

The pits were found during excavations on land that was to be used as a garbage dump

Mexico wasn't always a blistering-hot sunshine destination.

The latest discovery suggests, to the contrary, that some of the earliest settlers of the Basin of Mexico used the environment and social organization to systematically hunt woolly mammoths. Some 15,000 years ago, the land was newly exposed - lake beds that had dried as growing ice caps caused sea levels to decline.

Mammoth traps built 15,000 years ago by prehistoric humans have been discovered in Mexico.

Archaeologists have said they have made the largest discovery of mammoth remains, with a trove of 800 bones from at least 14 of the extinct giants found in central Mexico. The walls of the pits are about 5.6 feet deep and each measures 82 feet in diameter, according to Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Mammoth bones found in what is believed to be the first mammoth trap set by humans, in Tultepec, Mexico, in a photo released by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology (INAH).

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In the 1970s, workers building the Mexico City subway found a mammoth skeleton while digging on the capital's north side.

Each pit was filled with bones, and some showed signs that they'd been butchered. As a bone-us, the dig even uncovered remains of a horse and camel that have since vanished from the Americas.

Specifically, scientists hypothesized that groups of 20 to 30 hunters would "herd" the mammoths into the holes with torches and branches. The end of that era saw dramatic shifts in the climate.

It remains unclear whether planned construction of the dump will continue. Researchers also believe there may be more such traps in the area.

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