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Ice Camels Butchered, Probably Eaten, in Boulder

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It’s not clear whether prehistoric people at the foot of what is today called Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder County enjoyed slow roasting. Thanks to Patrick Mahaffy’s home drainage ditch project, however, it seems that some 13,000 years ago, Paleoindians used sharpened rocks to butcher ice-age camels (yes, camels in Colorado).

Given that the finding represents the first tools in North America to be used on a prehistoric camel, and that the cache was found just 18 inches underground, University of Colorado anthropologist Douglas Bamforth calls it “quite spectacular,” according to Boulder’s Daily Camera.

Scientists were able to date the tools, because of the residue found on them, from a time when prehistoric camels, elephants, horses, and ground sloths roamed what is now the Pearl Street Mall. ScienceDaily picked up on the story, too, noting that the find is incredibly rare and important. 

LiveScience, meanwhile, entertains a theory that the people of the time lived in small groups and traveled. Mahaffy says the artifacts will likely wind up in a museum, although some smaller pieces will probably be reburied at the site.

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