Archaeologists discovered the nearly intact fossil skeleton of a giant prehistoric elephant living in the New Territories.
The almost complete elephant ivory skeleton found in Lower Saxony, Germany. (Photo: Mirror).
"We found both 2.3 m long tusks, complete lower jaws, lots of vertebrae, ribs, large leg bones and even five fragile claw bones , " said lead researcher Jordi Serangeli, Paleontologists at the University of Tubingen in Germany said in a report.
The team emphasizes that this is the first ancient elephant skeleton to be found in Germany. Fossil analyzes show that the animal is about 3.2 meters tall and weighs 6.8 tons, larger than the size and average weight of the African prairie elephant, the largest terrestrial animal today.
Model of an Eurasian straight ivory elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus). (Photo: Sun).
"It is an Eurasian straight elephant who is old and probably died of old age. The teeth of the animal were worn out," said archaeologist Ivo Verheijen, a member of the research team. Fossil footprints imprinted on the mud indicate that it was near the lake before death, a behavior commonly seen in old or sick elephants.
A number of teeth marks found on the bone revealed that the predator had come to tear the elephant's body. The team also discovered about 30 small flint fragments next to the fossil, suggesting that ancient humans might also be there to slaughter the animal.
The painting depicts an ancient group of people carcassing elephant flesh. (Photo: Mirror).
Despite being the only specimen in Germany, fossil elephant bones have been discovered throughout Europe before. Paleontologists believe that the "old continent" also had a rich wildlife like today's Africa, with many large mammals such as elephants, lions, rhinos and bears.