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Three-million-year old mammal remains found in Greece
A mammoth skeleton. A group of paleontologists have discovered the tusks and petrified remains of a mastodon, or large mammoth-like mammal, that lived some three million years ago, the head of the team told has AFP. (AFP/File/Jack Guez)

Three-million-year old mammal remains found in Greece

July 23, 2007
AFP

THESSALONIKI, Greece - A group of paleontologists have discovered the tusks and petrified remains of a mastodon, or large mammoth-like mammal, that lived some three million years ago, the head of the team told AFP Monday.

The Greek paleontologists from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, along with Dutch specialists from the Natural History Museum in Rotterdam, discovered the remains in the northern Milia region near Grevena.

The tusks weighed a tonne each and measured five metres (16 feet), the longest found to date.

"This is a rare and unique find in Greece, and is useful for studies of a period dating back three million years," geology professor Evangelia Tsoukala told AFP.

The researchers also dug up petrified remains of a humerus -- the long bone of the arm or forelimb extending from the shoulder to the elbow -- thigh bones and teeth.

The animal appears to have stood 3.5 metres tall and weighed more than six tonnes, Tsoukala said.

Her team, which began excavating sites in the area in 1996, discovered another pair of 4.38-metre mastodon tusks in 1998, and in 2002 they dug up parts of a petrified rhinoceros skull dating from the same period.

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