Ebbsfleet discovery shows humans hunted prehistoric elephants almost 500,000 years ago

PUBLISHED: 06:00 29 September 2013

Humans alive almost 500,000 years ago were able to hunt animals as large as a prehistoric elephant, fossils unearthed in Ebbsfleet show.

The find was made during the building of the high-speed railway from the Channel Tunnel to London 10 years ago.

Dr Francis Wenban-Smith, a researcher in palaeolithic archaeology at the University of Southampton who made the discovery, has told of the excitement of uncovering a piece of prehistory.

He found a flint core in the elephant’s rib cage, confirming the human link.

It is believed the remains date back 420,000 years and Dr Wenban-Smith thinks scattered flint artefacts found around the carcass suggest it was butchered for its meat.

The discovery of this undisturbed grave is unique in Britain as only a handful of other elephant skeletons have been found.

Findings suggest the animal was twice as big as the African elephants of today.

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