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Ancient mammoth’s remains found in Phoenix suburb

July 5, 1997

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) _ Construction crews found the remains of a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth, and a geologist said charcoal found at the site may yield clues about early humans.

Machines digging a sewer trench had already tunneled through the middle of the skeleton when a city building inspector noticed curious white objects stuck in the clay soil.

``I’m sure there were many more sites like this that were just covered up because construction crews don’t recognize them,″ Arizona State University geologist Brad Archer said of a region where construction is rampant.

Though a tusk was sliced in half and some bones were chipped by the digging, Archer said the remains discovered Thursday may include something even more important.

What appeared to be charcoal near the remains could signify an Ice Age ``kill site″ where humans hunted the animal for food, Archer said.

If that’s the case, it would be the first evidence humans were in the Phoenix area more than 10,000 years ago, Archer said. Evidence of human life during that era has been discovered in Tucson, he said.

The skeleton belonged to an animal called Mammuthus, smaller than an African elephant but with an elephant-like appearance and long fur.

Ultimately, the site will be covered with asphalt for a neighborhood street, but if excavation of the mammoth takes longer than the weekend or if other rare finds are unearthed, the city will ask the builder to delay this portion of the project, Chandler spokesman Dave Bigos said.

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