Mystery surrounding a massive woolly mammoth graveyard

Photo credit: Tomsk State University

A dig during the summer at the Volchya Griva mammoth graveyard has made a record haul of mammoth bones. Yet this was not the only surprising find.

In a pit that measured nine square meters, the paleontologist for Tomsk State University discovered remnants from eight extinct creatures.

In the collection of 785 discoveries experts also found some bones and teeth of bison, as well as those of a horse and most likely foxes or polar foxes and rodents. Yet this has not been confirmed yet.

The archaeologists had unearthed two bone-carrying levels, which is the normal way they are arranged at the Volchya Grive. They found a lot of interesting bones.

Before the archaeologists headed home, they dug further down in one location and then in another. They realized that there were at least ten more days of work. When they had gone deeper it was here that they discovered mammoth bones that they had never seen before.

There were at points more than 100 discoveries of limb bones, vertebrae, and ribs located in an area that was one square meter wide and half a meter deep. The new remains of the woolly mammoths that were discovered at the deeper level are incredibly well preserved.

In one new pit measuring only nine square metres remains from eight separate mammoths were found. Photo Credit
In one new pit measuring only nine square metres remains from eight separate mammoths were found. Photo Credit

They had been buried underneath a layer of clay and sand in a little slump for many years after animals had died. Archaeologists found a good number of anatomical joints that will be helpful in getting more information in finding out the locations and the reasons for the mammoths’ deaths, and also in identifying their age and size.

The previous digging location since the 1960s was in one location on the outer part of Mamontovoye (Mammoth) village. This place has been long known as the cemetery for extinct creatures.

The depth of the layer that contained the bones was 1.5 meters (4.9 ft). The archaeologists chose to check a new place that was located in the middle of the village. Locals had discovered these bones while digging trenches for water pipes and cellars.

The archaeologist used drilling equipment to discover the bone layer. When they discovered a suitable place, they cleaned the area of 3×3 square meters (9.8 ft).

They had dug the usual layer of 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) and had thought that this would have been the end, and then went for a small look around the surrounding area to search for similar places. But they chose to dig out two more shovelsful and discovered another layer that happened to be twice as rich in bones.

Continued on page 2