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.