Mammoth skeleton unearthed in Serbia

June 4, 2009 2:25:15 PM PDT
A well-preserved skeleton of a mammoth that is believed to be about 1 million years old has been unearthed in eastern Serbia, archaeologists said Thursday. The discovery was made during excavation two days ago at an open-pit coal mine near Kostolac power plant, said Miomir Korac, from Serbia's Archaeology Institute.

The skeleton was found 89 feet (27 meters) below ground, he said. The mammoth was more than 13 feet (4 meters) high, 16 feet (5 meters) long and weighed more than 10 tons.

"It is very well-preserved with only slight damage to the skull and the tusks," Korac told the AP. "There have been practically no major tectonic disruptions here for at least a million years."

Korac said the mammoth was a so-called southern mammoth, or mammuthus meridionalis, originating from northern Africa. He said this kind of mammoth did not have fur.

The southern mammoth is one of the oldest species found in Europe, Korac said.

Experts said it would take about three months before the skeleton could be put on display.

A skeleton discovered at a factory in Serbia in 1996, and named Kika, is believed to have belonged to a female mammoth that lived about 500,000 years ago. This skeleton is on display in the town of Kikinda, northern Serbia.


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