Prehistoric find excites experts

Sculptures of two Gomphotheriums, a four-tusked ancestor of the elephant
Sculptures of two Gomphotheriums, a four-tusked ancestor of the elephant, in California

13million-year-old skull could be that of an ancestor of the elephant that was previously unknown in southwest France

A 13million-year-old mastadon skull found near Toulouse has sparked excitement among France's paleontologists.

The 1.6m intact skull, with tusks, was found last summer near Isle-en-Dodon, in the historic pays de Comminges in the foothills of the Pyrenees to the southwest of the Pink City.

The area is rich in prehistoric remains, but the size of the remains has prompted experts in Toulouse and Paris to speculate whether the animal was a Gomphotherium, a four-tusked ancestor of the mammoth and the elephant previously unknown to this part of the world.

The remains were carefully dug out of the ground and transported to Toulouse for further study. The identity of the animal will be revealed on July 10.

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