Feeds

Native Americans KILLED AND ATE DUMBO, say archaeologists

Yum, trunk meat, my favourite

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The primitive folk assessed by many archaeologists as being the original native Americans – that is, the Clovis people – killed and ate the lovable prehistoric elephants that inhabited the continent alongside them, scientists say.

From left to right: Mastodon, mammoth, gomphothere. Credit: Sergio de la Rosa

Majestic, delicious creatures roamed North America in peace ... until the Native Americans came

The proto-dumbo species in question is known as the gomphothere. Until recently, it had been thought that gomphotheres had disappeared from North America well before human beings showed up, but new fossil evidence appears to show that at least one cuddly tusker was brutally killed by Clovis people around 13,400 years ago. The luckless pachyderm was then scoffed by its peckish assailants.

"This is the first Clovis gomphothere, it's the first archaeological gomphothere found in North America ... it adds another item to the Clovis menu," says archaeologist Vance Holliday, who took part in the dig which unearthed the fossilised proto-'phant.

According to a statement highlighting the new research from Arizona uni:

Gomphotheres were smaller than mammoths – about the same size as modern elephants. They once were widespread in North America, but until now they seemed to have disappeared from the continent's fossil record long before humans arrived in North America, which happened some 13,000 to 13,500 years ago, during the late Ice Age.

Holliday and his colleagues are sure that it was Clovis natives who did for the gomphothere, as its corpse was apparently riddled with their characteristic stone weaponry.

"Of the seven Clovis points found at the site, four were in place among the bones, including one with bone and teeth fragments above and below. The other three points had clearly eroded away from the bone bed and were found scattered nearby," we are told.

The fossilised elephant's graveyard was discovered by cowboys in the remote outback of Mexico's Sonora state. Mexican and US archaeologists working there named the site "El Fin del Mundo" - the End of the World.

It's possible that the Clovis weren't the only people to slaughter and chow down upon the early North American dumbo. Some boffins have lately challenged the "Clovis First" theory, saying that the Clovis may not in fact have been the original native Americans: that yet older peoples were there before them, presumably also tucking into a spot of gomphothere when they could get it.

Holliday and his colleagues' research is published here in the august Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.