Anthropologists Rethink Prehistoric Hunting After Man-Made Mammoth Pit Discovery In Mexico 

Early humans built the pits specifically to kill mammoths, which required “high levels of organization.”

By Joy DiazNovember 18, 2019 12:36 pm, ,

A new discovery by researchers with Mexico’s National Institute of History and Anthropology shows that prehistoric humans were more savvy about hunting for food than anyone thought. These ancient “foodies” worked together to plan their meals and trap animals in a sophisticated way – something scientists discovered when excavating two man-made pits holding 14 mammoth skeletons. 

Archeologist Luis Córdoba Barradas participated in the research, and says early humans used a coordinated hunting technique to obtain food. 

“We used to believe that one hunting technique included scaring the animals into natural depressions, such as canyons. But here it is clear that hunters coordinated the creation of these pits,” Córdoba Barradas says. “It clearly shows they were well-organized, hardworking people who knew the region very well.”

The bones will be added to a community exhibit created for the first mammoth bones found in the same area, near Mexico City, called Tultepec. Prehistoric people in Tultepec specialized in mammoth hunting, and used the animal’s meat, pelts and bones. 

Córdoba Barradas says the discovery has changed the way researchers think about prehistoric mammoth hunting, and he expects similar discoveries in the future.

“There are other places where mammoth bones have been found – Europe comes to mind; the Ukraine, Siberia,” Córdoba Barradas says. 


Written by Savana Dunning.