The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Wednesday that the 2.5-meter-long tusk belonged to a straight-tusked elephant called Palaeoloxodon antiquus and is estimated to be about half a million years old. The species was much larger than current African elephants, and humans hunted them for food or symbolic purposes, according to Reuters.
“We anticipate that the discovery of the new tusk in a clear archaeological context will shed light on this issue,” said IAA archaeologist Omry Barzilai. IAA prehistorian Avi Levy, who led the excavation, said the discovery was “the largest complete fossil tusk ever found at a prehistoric site in Israel or the Near East.”
The tusk was found during a joint excavation with researchers from Tel Aviv University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, according to CBS News.
Following the conservation process, the tusk will be displayed in the National Campus for the Archaeology of Israel in Jerusalem.
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