Mammoths were hairy giants that roamed the icy tundra of Europe and North America for thousands of years before disappearing at the end of the Pleistocene period 10,000 years ago.
Big stash of bigger animals " This is the largest find of its kind ever made", the institute said in a statement (original text in Spanish). As the bones are estimated to be around 14,000 to 15,000 years old, the team says this is the earliest example of such a trap ever found. The walls of the pits are about 5.6 feet deep and each measures 82 feet in diameter, according to Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Mammoths, many researchers assumed, were only attacked by humans when hunters happened upon the animals in a compromised position - a mammoth stuck in a swamp, for example. The bones are likely the remains of at least 14 mammoths. The herds grew, reproduced, died, were hunted.More news: CCB arrests two batsmen in KPL spot-fixing scandal
The latest discovery suggests, to the contrary, that some of the earliest settlers of the Basin of Mexico used the environment and social organization to systematically hunt woolly mammoths.
Specifically, scientists hypothesized that groups of 20 to 30 hunters would "herd" the mammoths into the holes with torches and branches.
The pits were found while space was being cleared for a garbage dump in Tultepec, north of Mexico City.More news: Lima Astronomical Society holding Mercury Transit viewing
It's unclear if plans for the dump will be altered to accommodate the site.
Other bones recovered in the pit include the vertebrae and jaw of a camel, as well as molars from a horse.More news: Paul George Expected To Debut With Clippers By Nov. 14