Skip to comments.Indonesian elephant fossil opens window to past
Posted on 06/22/2009 6:36:37 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
BANDUNG, Indonesia (AP) - Indonesian scientists are reconstructing the largest, most complete skeleton of a prehistoric giant elephant ever found in the tropics, a finding that may offer new clues into the largely mysterious origins of its modern Asian cousin.
The prehistoric elephant is believed to have been submerged in quicksand shortly after dying on a riverbed in Java around 200,000 years ago. Its bonesalmost perfectly preservedwere discovered by chance in March.
The animal stood four meters (13-feet) tall, was five meters (16-feet) long and weighed more than 10 tons. It was considerably larger than the great Asian mammals now on Earth, and closely resembled the woolly mammoth of the same period in terms of size.
Animal fossils are rare in the humid, hot climate of the equator because decomposition occurs extremely quickly.
A team of seven paleontologists from the Geology Museum in Bandung, West Java, set the bones in plaster for the trip back to their office after a monthlong excavation and the laborious process of piecing them together then began.
"We believe from the shape of its teeth that it was a very primitive elephant," but little else has been verified, said paleontologist Fachroel Aziz, who is heading a 12-strong skeletal reconstruction team.
(Excerpt) Read more at breitbart.com ...
If it is 200,000 years old, it is not all that primitive. The elephant family has been around for a long time.