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Schoolchildren find prehistoric elephant bones in Germany

Two German schoolboys have found bones a scientist says belonged to prehistoric elephants which lived outside Munich around 10 million years ago.

The rare find, which dates back to last year and was presented yesterday, gives an idea what the long extinct animal known as deinotheria or ‘Hauerelefant’ looked like, said Peter Kapustin, the father of the children who made the discovery.

The mammal with a shoulder height of up to five metres and a weight of up to 12 tonnes “had its tusks coming out of its lower jaw, quite different from what we know from elephants living today,” said Mr Kapustin.

The mammal with a shoulder height of up to five metres and a weight of up to 12 tonnes ‘had its tusks coming out of its lower jaw’

Following extensive excavations near the small Bavarian village of Weipersdorf in the district of Erding near Munich, a total of 120 bones were found.

Initially, nine-year-old Constantin Kapustin and his 10-year-old brother Alexander found just one bone.

“Unfortunately, when we uncovered it, a really big boulder fell on it and dad was afraid that the bone had broken. But luckily it wasn’t broken after all,” Alexander recalled.

Paleontological preparator Nils Knoetschke said some of the bones were heavily fractured when they were found.

“If a layman had used a shovel on the bones, they would have fallen into a thousand pieces.”

The find is now on display at Taufkirchen’s prehistoric museum run by Peter Kapustin, who said not all bones had been prepared yet.


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