Hunting a mammoth would have been no easy task. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Public Library of Science
Researchers have discovered direct evidence that humans actively hunted mammoths with weapons.
While our ancestors were known to have targeted mammoths thousands of years ago, it was never clear exactly how they had managed to bring down such gargantuan beasts.
One theory suggests that they may have chased the animals over the edge of cliffs or in to pits while another highlights the possibility that only sick or dying mammoths were targeted.
Now though, the discovery of a javelin embedded in the rib of a mammoth skeleton unearthed in Poland has provided direct evidence that human hunters actively attacked them with weapons.
The mammoth in question was felled sometime around 25,000 years ago.
"The spear was certainly thrown at the mammoth from a distance, as evidenced by the force with which it stuck into an animal," said archaeologist Piotr Wojtal.
"The blade had to pierce 2cm-thick skin and an 8-cm layer of fat to finally reach the bone."
It is unlikely however that the blow would have been enough to take down the mammoth on its own.
"I believe this is the first find of a weapon embedded in a mammoth bone in Europe," said Adrian Lister from the Natural History Museum in London.
"It is important because it proves beyond reasonable doubt that mammoths were hunted."
Source: Live Science | Comments (62)