Evidence has been found near the U.S.-mexico border that cavemen butchered gomphotheres, elephant-like beasts from the Ice Age that were believed to be nearly extinct by the time humans appeared there.
Researchers from the University of Arizona and Mexico’s anthropology institute say they found the bones of two young gomphotheres — along with blades, a scraping tool and stone chips from making spear tips — at an 11,000-year-old site in Mexico’s Sonora state.
The finding adds fuel to a debate over whether overhunting by humans helped drive prehistoric animals such as mastodons, North American horses and gomphotheres into extinction, said Vance Holliday, a University of Arizona archaeologist on the team.
“This is the first time we’ve found gomphotheres and humans together in North America,” Holliday said. “Maybe they killed it, maybe they scavenged it, but it’s something completely new.”