French archaeologists have uncovered a rare, near-complete skeleton of a mammoth in the countryside near Paris, alongside tiny fragments of flint tools suggesting the carcass may have been cut into by prehistoric hunters.
“Evidence this clear has never been found before, at least in France,” said Gregory Bayle, chief archaeologist at the site.
“We’re working on the theory that Neanderthal men came across the carcass and cut off bits of meat.”
Archaeologists came across the giant bones by accident while they were excavating ancient Roman remains in a quarry near the town of Changis-sur-Marne, 30 km (19 miles) east of Paris.
The mammoth, which the archaeologists have named “Helmut”, is thought to be between 100,000 and 200,000 years old and is only the fourth near-complete specimen to be found in France. The first was dug up near the southeastern city of Lyon in 1859.