GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) -- A fisherman has found the fossil remains of
prehistoric tusk-bearing mammal along the shores of Lake Chapala just outside
this city in central Mexico.
The finding may be the first complete fossil skeleton found in the area,
miles south of Guadalajara. Paleontologists at Mexico's National Anthropology
and History Institute, who have just started unearthing the bones, so far have
identified the tusks, spinal column and leg bones of a mastodon, a mammal
distinguished from prehistoric elephants by its tooth structure.
A fisherman walking across the dried up section of the lake spotted something
sticking out of the dirt Wednesday. After brushing away the dirt, he realized
there were numerous bones and notified authorities.
Mastodons walked the earth from the Oligocene period occurring from 25
million to 40 million years ago to the Pleistocene period, which ended about the
time of the last ice age 10,000 years ago.
Mexican authorities have cordoned off the area while they await the arrival
more paleontologists to recover all the bones. Lake Chapala is home to thousands
of retired Americans and Canadians and is possibly the largest community of
North American expatriates in the world.
Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.