Fossilized elephant tusk found on seafloor off Sicily

Date:

Share post:

A fossilized elephant tusk at least 100,000 years old has been discovered on the seafloor off the Sicilian coast, according to a survey of underwater archaeologists.

Fossilized elephant tusk found on seafloor off Sicily
Fossiized elephant tusk embedded on the seafloor off the Sicilian coast
[Credit: Soprintendenza del Mare della Regione Siciliana]

Discovered during a series of archaeological dives in the waters off Torretta Granitola, a village on the island’s southwestern coast, the tusk is more than 3 feet long.

“It was found embedded on the sea bottom in Pleistocene alluvional deposits,” the Superintendency of Maritime Cultural Heritage of Sicily said in a statement.

In the same area, Giampaolo Mirabile, a local diver, found some years ago two molar teeth belonging to the dwarf elephant Palaeoloxodon mnaidriensis, or Elephas Mnaidriensis, a species that roamed Sicily between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.

“The tusk’ size confirms the previous finding and points to the same extinct species,” Sebastiano Tusa, Sicily’s superintendent of the Sea Office, said.

Tusa, who dived to the site with Giampaolo Mirabile, Gaetano Lino and Alessandro Urbano, also noticed what appeared like elephant footprints near the tusk.

“It’s clear now that the elephant’s disarticulated remains are spread in a limited area, embedded in a pebble conglomerate which is the result of alluvional deposits,” Tusa said.

Not far from the fossil find, the archaeologist also discovered numerous lumps of flint. Since the flints lay at a depth of about 13 feet, it is possible they represents the remains of a ship and its cargo.

But there might be a more likely explanation.

“Flint was used in the manufacture of tools since the most remote prehistory, mostly in Paleolithic and Neolithic times,” Tusa said.

“Most likely, that site now covered by water was once a prehistoric settlement. It was later destroyed by the (rising) sea level,” Tusa said.

Author: Rossella Lorenzi  | Source: Discovery News [July 19, 2013]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Climate change threatens forest survival on drier, low-elevation sites

Predicted increases in temperature and drought in the coming century may make it more difficult for conifers such...

Low Mississippi River exposes shipwreck

Calling all available archaeologists. Low water on the Mississippi River has revealed a mystery on the banks near...

New Upper Triassic Thalattosaur found in Guizhou, China

Thalattosaurs, literally meaning “ocean lizard”, are a group of prehistoric marine reptiles living during the Triassic Period in...

West Antarctic Ice Sheet loss over the last 11,000 years seen in new study

Reporting in the journal Nature, an international team of researchers led by British Antarctic Survey (BAS) explains that...

High-tech maps of tropical forest diversity identify new conservation targets

New remote sensing maps of the forest canopy in Peru test the strength of current forest protections and...

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

Warming seawaters, caused by climate change and extreme climatic events, threaten the stability of tropical coral reefs, with...

Tiny plankton could have big impact on climate

As the climate changes and oceans' acidity increases, tiny plankton seem set to succeed. An international team of...

Cosmology safe as universe has no sense of direction

The universe is expanding uniformly according to research led by UCL which reports that space isn't stretching in...