Paleontologists work to preserve the skeleton of a mammoth that was discovered at the construction site of Mexico City’s new airport in the Santa Lucia military base, Mexico on Sept. 3, 2020.
Two hundred ancient mammoth skeletons have been discovered beneath an airport construction site north of Mexico City – the largest collection of mammoth bones ever found.
Archaeologists at Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History first realized the area might hide mammoth remains after they found two human-dug mammoth traps in November 2020 as part of routine excavations to clear land for the airport site.
The traps, in an area intended for use as a garbage dump in the town of Tultepec, contained the bones of at least 14 Columbian mammoths.
The construction site of the Felipe Ángeles International Airport is just 12 miles from those traps. There, excavation teams discovered in May that the dried-up bed of Lake Xaltocan held at least 60 mammoth skeletons. The total uncovered has since reached 200 – with more bones still waiting underground.
“There are too many. There are hundreds,” Pedro Sánchez Nava, an archaeologist at the institute, told The Associated Press.
Now an observer accompanies every bulldozer at the construction site, just in case one digs up new mammoth bones, according to The AP.