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Well preserved mammoth tusks discovered near Karaganda

10 december 2014, 02:06
0
Photo © popgun.ru
Photo © popgun.ru

Workers of a mining company have discovered mammoth tusks in Karaganda Oblast in central Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports citing NV.kz. The ancient remains were preserved at the 6-meter depth of a magnesium limestone quarry near Zhenis village.

One of the tusks was damaged by an excavator scoop during extraction. But, luckily, the damage was small.

“There were such discoveries back in the 1940s, 1950s and 1980s. I personally examined the Kuuchekinsky open-cast coal mine. There were mammoth tusks there too, but only small pieces. Here we have large tusks. I think, these tusks have been preserved thanks to Sarysu river that in ancient times was very strong. Preservation of remnants requires specific environmental conditions. There have to be strong currents to bring on mud, sand and clay to cover the skeletons and parts of the mammoth. After all, bones cannot survive on the surface. Organic particles dissolve quickly when exposed to temperature changes, humidity and wind,” a local archaeologist Victor Varfolomeev said.

It is possible, that an encampment of Palaeolithic hunters was somewhere nearby. “The workers who found the tusks might have missed some stone artefacts. Sometimes they do not look like artefacts at all. It takes an expert to recognize these artefacts. In spring when the snow melts we will gather an expedition to examine the place. It is possible that there was an encampment. Encampment with animal bones below the surface are very rare. A lot of remains of Palaeolithic encampments have been found in Kazakstan, but they are all located on the surface. They only contained remains of their life activities, but no bones of Palaeolithic humans have even been discovered in Kazakhstan. We do not know how the ancient people who lived at the territory of Kazakhstan in the days when mammoths walked the earth looked like. But we hope that we will find this out some day,” Varfolomeev said.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Historical and Cultural Heritage Preservation Center Tulekbay Tuleulov insisted that the tusks belonged to an animal that died of natural causes. Unfortunately, in this case the discovery is of far lest interest to archaeologists.

“That mammoth ended up there by accident. The local workers who were digging the mine have already sifted the sand. They found nothing. You cannot find the remnants of an encampment there,” Tuleulov said.

This is not the first discovery this year. Earlier, Geography House experts and young enthusiasts from Zholdar bike club found fragments of limbs, a sacral bone and a jaw of an Irish elk, a well preserved rib of a mammoth, a horn of a Siberian stag and bison bones. Archeologists from Pavlodar confirmed the importance of the discovery. All the remnants discovered near Zhana-Kala were added to the collection of the Geography House.

Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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