Rare southern mammoth remains found in Russia

Paleontologists said the area has so many bones that local highlanders may have been collecting them for years.

MOSCOW — The rare remains of a prehistoric species of southern mammoth, whose giant tusks stretched more than 3 feet long, have been uncovered in southern Russia, news agency Itar-Tass reported.

It is the eighth known find of a full skeleton of the gargantuan mammal which stood at an estimated height of 13.12 feet. Four have been found in Russia.

The mammoth was discovered when a cliff collapsed in the mountainous province of Kabardino-Balkaria in Russia's North Caucasus. Paleontologists said the remote area is so full of the bones of prehistoric beasts that local highlanders have been collecting them for years.

"It is very likely that we are not only talking about a single skeleton, but a whole graveyard of prehistoric animals," Viktor Kotlyarov told Tass this week.

"Locals use some of the backbones as stools."

One of the largest beasts to roam Earth, the southern mammoth is thought to more closely resemble today's elephants than its furry northern cousin, the woolly mammoth.

Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel

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