Madrid concentrates several of the largest deposits with elephants and mammoths in Europe

Madrid concentrates several of the largest deposits with elephants and mammoths in Europe


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Susana Rubio Jara and Joaquín Panera, archaeologists from the National Center for Research on Human Evolution (CENIEH), have participated in a work published in the journal Quaternary International in which more than 40 Pleistocene sites around Madrid, in the Manzanares and Jarama valleys, where one of the largest concentrations of elephant and mammoth remains in Europe is found.

The study of the remains of these large mammalsFrom the taphonomic point of view, it has been possible to determine that, while in Europe the number of sites where their use is documented during the Lower Paleolithic is much higher, in these Madrid valleys they are more frequent in the Middle Palaeolithic.

"This indicates that also for the Neanderthals who roamed the valleys of the Manzanares and Jarama, the proboscideans constituted an essential resource, and implies that human groups with different lithic technologies, Acheulean and Mousterian, exploited this animal resource on a recurring basis", comments Susana Rubio .

A site in the center of Madrid

Since the mid-nineteenth century documented elephant and mammoth remains associated with lithic pieces on the San Isidro hill in Madrid (in front of the old Vicente Calderón football stadium), there have been numerous discoveries of these large mammals in Fluvial deposits of the middle and lower courses of the valleys of the Manzanares and Jarama rivers.

As Susana Rubio explains, it is a key area for the study of the relationship between human groups prior to our species and proboscis.

«Elephants and mammoths are key species of the ecosystems they frequent, their trails are used by other mammals, including hominins. Thanks to their complex mental maps, they know the situation of water sources, mineral and plant resources and their annual variations, which would make it easier for our ancestors to occupy new territories ”.

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