jump to navigation

Remains of mastodon discovered in Grevena July 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.

A team of Greek paleontologists have discovered the tusks and fossilized remains of a 3-million-year-old mammoth-like mammal in Grevena, northern Greece. The remains of the prehistoric mastodon, a mammoth-like animal, includes intact long tusks.

The tusks of the mastodon weigh a ton each and are 5 meters in length, the longest ever found. The mammal, believed to have been a male aged around 25, was 3.5 meters tall and weighed over 6 tons, according to experts.

greek_mastodon_tusks.jpg  The tusks were well preserved. Photo Credit Prof Evangelia Tsoukala, 2007.

“This is a rare and unique find for Greece and is useful for studies of the period,” said Evangelia Tsoukala, the head of a team of Greek and Dutch experts who has been working in the Grevena region for the past 10 years.

Tsoukala’s team also uncovered thigh bones and teeth believed to have belonged to the same animal. In 1998, the same team discovered another pair of mastodon tusks, measuring 4.38 meters.

A Dutch scientist at the site, Dick Mol, says the find near Grevena should help explain why mastodons died out in Europe two to three million years ago. The mastodon’s tusks measure 5m (16.5ft) and 4m. They are the longest tusks ever found on a prehistoric elephant-like animal. “It is spectacular,” Mr Mol said.

greek_mastodon_bones.jpg  Thigh bones and teeth were also dug up. Photo Credit Prof Evangelia Tsoukala, 2007.

There have also been rare mastodon finds in northern Europe, notably in England, Germany and the Netherlands. Mastodons are thought to have first appeared about five million years ago and became extinct in North America about 10,000 years ago, much later than in Europe. The animals were similar to woolly mammoths, but had tusks that pointed forwards, rather than spiralling upwards. Their teeth were also different.

The team of palaeontologists, headed by Professor Evangelia Tsoukala of Aristotle University in Thessaloniki, began the excavation on 16 July and is planning to finish it on Wednesday.

Scientists will study the remains at a research centre in the Milia region of northern Greece, and there are hopes that some of the creature’s DNA is still intact. Various parts of the skeleton have been dug up, along with teeth. The animal’s height was about 3.5m at the shoulder and it weighed some six tons. The mastodon feasted on leaves, unlike the woolly mammoth, which grazed. Eventually it will go on display at a Museum in Milia.

Related Links >


%d bloggers like this: