PUEBLA, Mexico – Fossil remains of mammoths, camels and gigantic “wolf-dogs” from 10,000 to 14,000 years ago have been found during work on private land in the central Mexican state of Puebla.
The find was made in San Francisco Totimehuacan, a community within the greater metro district of Puebla, the state capital. According to preliminary research, the fossils date from the Late Pleistocene.
Members of the Tepalcayotl Association, a civil organization devoted to rescuing and preserving the culture and traditions of San Francisco Totimehuacan, say that the find was made a year-and-a-half ago on the bank of the Alseseca River.
“Workers approached the members of the Association and brought us a piece that they had found,” Jose Rosendo Muñoz Chetla, the president of the organization, told EFE.
Standing out among the fossils are a molar and a fragment of mammoth cranium – specifically of the Mammuthus columbi species. Among these remains was also found an arrowhead, suggesting that the animal may have been killed by hunters thousands of years ago.
At the site, many fossils were discovered. In all, members of the Association said that they collected more than 132 of them, including a mammoth tusk 1.2 meters (3.94 feet) long and a fang from a gigantic wolf-dog.
They also found two molars, a segment of spine two meters (6.6 feet) long and the cranium of a camel.
“It’s a very gentle process because the pieces crumble just by touching them. There are many (body) parts at the site of the find,” Cosme Damiam Venta Rosas, a resident of San Francisco Totimehuacan, told EFE. “The materials are very delicate,” he added.
The fossils are now at the headquarters of the San Francisco Totimehuacan municipal board along with pre-Hispanic remains found in the area.
Experts with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Puebla participated in recovering the fossils and it will be they who will continue the research, the recovery and the search for more remains.
Rosendo Muñoz, a resident of the area and president of the Association, said that “People have many paleontological and pre-Hispanic pieces” that they are preserving in their homes out of “fear” of losing them if they turn them over to the authorities. That is why a full accounting of all the finds in the area has not yet been made.
Muñoz issued a call to INAH authorities, the Puebla government and the city hall to take measures so that a “community museum” can be constructed in the area.
In addition, he said that the remains are being safeguarded so that they will not be stolen.
San Francisco Totimehuacan, the origins of which date back almost 4,000 years, is frequently the site for finds of this kind, according to members of the Tepalcayotl Association.
In Puebla state, there is a large amount of fossil evidence, not only from the Pleistocene, which lasted from 2.6 million years ago to just 10,000 years ago.
The oldest fossil finds made in the area are from 120 million years ago, during the Cretaceous, and INAH has registered about 20 finds from assorted periods.