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Spanish Saber Tooth Site
Spanish paleontologist Jorge Morales discovered the fossilized remains of
some 45 sabre-toothed tigers, with an unusually large number of skulls
completely intact, on a barren hill 19 miles south of the Spanish capital.
This is the third summer Morales and his 25-strong international team have
spent at the site in their painstaking search for fossils.
"We have found the remains of 30 complete craniums of the medium sized
sabre-tooth, and 15 of the big sabre-tooth," Morales told Reuters on
"Of the medium-sized one, no other complete example is known of. We've got
30!" he said.
The remains are thought to be nine to 10 million years old. The oldest
known fossils thought to be from a member of the human family were found
in Chad last month and are thought to be six to seven million years old.
Morales, who has also worked in Namibia and Kenya, said there was an
unusual concentration of carnivorous animals on the hill compared with
"We think there was some kind of trap here...like quick sand. The
herbivores could have been trapped by the quick sand and that attracted
the carnivores...to try to eat them," he said.
Other theories are that there was a cave or hole that animals became
Excavations began after miners of mineral sepiolite found fossils, and
informed the Madrid science museum.
Apart from sabre-toothed tigers, the paleontologists have come across
fossils of a zebra, a giraffe with a larger head and shorter legs than its
descendants, the elephant-like mastodon, birds of prey, bears, tortoises,
antelope and a rhinoceros.