Excavations Reveal Elephants Roamed Southern Chile

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Tagua Tagua Milenaria—Universidad de O’Higgins/Christian Didi Moreno/Photo distributed via Reuters
A view of an excavation site where the remains of Gomphotheres were found in the Tagua Tagua region, Rancagua, Chile, September 24

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Gomphotheres, an extinct relative of the modern elephant, roamed southern Chile thousands of years ago and may have been the target of group hunts by locals, the report said. hypothesis of Chilean scientists after a recent discovery.

Scientists recently discovered several 12,000-year-old Gomphothere remains near Lake Tagua Tagua, a glacial lake, in southern Chile.

The large creatures weighed up to 4 tons and could reach 3 meters, leading scientists to believe that they were the target of group hunts by the inhabitants of the region.

“The hypothesis we’re working with is that it’s about hunting, hunting events,” said Carlos Tornero, an archaeologist working at the site. “We believe this because the Gomphothere is a very large and dangerous animal and it probably took several people [to hunt].”

The scientists said the discovery would also allow them to study the wider human impact on the area and how a changing climate has affected animals in the region during this time.

“We can get a lot of information from here, for example in terms of climate change, how it has affected animals,” said Elisa Calas, an archaeologist also working at the site. “The influence of humans on the environment is very much in line with what is happening now in terms of the environment.”


Tagua Tagua Milenaria—Universidad de O’Higgins/Christian Didi Moreno/Photo distributed via Reuters
A paleontologist works at an excavation site where the remains of Gomphotheres were found.
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