It turns out Paris has not only been the destination of choice for lovers, artists and tourists, but also for shaggy pre-historic elephants. French archeologists say they have marked a milestone after digging up a rare complete skeleton of a mammoth along the Changis-sur-Marne riverbanks near Paris.
Researchers at the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) told AFP Tuesday that the remains, which date back to some 200,000-500,000 years ago, include a femur, a complete pelvis, jawbones and four connected vertebrae.
They christened the animal “Helmut” and said it was in its 20s at the time of its death, AFP reported.
“Such a discovery is extraordinary in France, since only three specimens have been unearthed in 150 years,” the archeologists wrote on the INRAP website.
According to the INRAP researchers, two flint axes were also found near the skull, which suggest that the mammoth was in touch with the Neanderthals, French magazine L'Express reported. The flint tools could have been used to cut up the animal, while it was already dead or when it was trapped in a quarry.
"Some archaeologists have spent their lives dreaming of such a discovery and having this opportunity," chief archeologist Gregory Bayle told the magazine.
The mammoth is said to be of the 'Woolly Mammoth' or 'Mammuthus Primigenius' species, which typically lived in Eurasia and North America, before disappearing some 10,000 years ago in the wake of global warming,