TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran's Department of Environment announced on Tuesday that it has discovered samples of mammoths which lived in the country 2mln years ago, indicating that the giant animals lived in ancient Iran.
"Samples of two different genders of mammoths whose bodies were not covered with wool and lived at least 2mln years ago as well as a piece of a fossilized tusk along with the lower jaw and pieces of the elephant's ivory and upper jaw have been found in Ardebil (city in Northwestern Iran)," Zahra Orak, a senior official at the Department of Environment, said on Tuesday.
He added that the fossils and samples belong to mature elephants, noting that one of the tusks is similar to those of Indian elephants.
Orak said it can be an indication that a similar type of the current Indian elephant lived in Iran 2mln years ago.
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus, proboscideans commonly equipped with long, curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair.
They lived from the Pliocene epoch (from around 5 million years ago) into the Holocene at about 4,500 years ago in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. They were members of the family Elephantidae, which also contains the two genera of modern elephants and their ancestors. Mammoths stem from an ancestral species called M. africanavus, the African mammoth. These mammoths lived in Northern Africa and disappeared about 3 or 4 million years ago. Descendants of these mammoths moved North and eventually covered most of Eurasia.