CHISINAU, February 25. /TASS/. A well-preserved fossilized lower jaw of a steppe mammoth, an ancestor of the woolly mammoth that roamed the earth some 500,000 years ago, was discovered in a sand pit in a Tiraspol suburb, the 1st Pridvestrovsky television channel reported on Tuesday.
"It is a rare find. Two halves of a lower jaw bone have been found practically intact," Denis Zakharov of the Transnistrian Taras Shevchenko State University said, adding that the tooth enamel indicated that the jaw had not belonged to a woolly mammoth but rather to its remote ancestor.
The bones were unearthed from a depth of about 30 meters in a sand pit that has been developed since the early 20th century. Excavation works have at the site have already yielded lots of fossilized bones, which are known as the Tiraspol fauna complex and which are now displayed at museums across the former Soviet Union.
The new find is expected to be put on display at Tiraspol’s museum of geology and paleontology.
The steppe mammoth, or Mammuthus trogontherii, the largest-ever trunked mammal, could reach 4.2 meters tall at the shoulders and weighed up to ten tonnes. Males had more than five meter long tusks, the longest ones among all other trunked mammals. It went extinct about 250,000 year ago, ceding to the woolly mammoth.