Fossil tracks may reveal an ancient elephant nursery

Fossilized footprints found on a beach in southern Spain betray what may have been a nursery for an extinct species of elephant.

The track-rich coastal site, which scientists have dubbed the Matalascañas Trampled Surface, is typically covered by 1½ meters of sand, says Clive Finlayson, an evolutionary biologist at the Gibraltar National Museum. But storm surges in the spring of 2020 washed away much of that sand and exposed the preserved footprints of ancient elephants, cattle, deer, pigs, wolves, water birds and even Neandertals, Finlayson and colleagues report September 16 in Scientific Reports. The sandy-clay sediments hosting this trove of tracks were probably laid down about 106,000 years ago,

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