EFEBy Juan Manuel Ramirez G. Zumpango, Mexico

A life-size replica of a mammoth welcomes visitors to the Santa Lucia Quinametzin Paleontological Museum at the international airport now under construction in this suburb of Mexico City.

It was during excavations for the new terminal that workers came upon a 95-percent complete skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, a creature that went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, about 11,500 years ago.

"The Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) is the largest species that inhabited North America. It measured 4 meters (13 ft) in height and from 4 to 6 meters (20 ft) in length, and weighed between 8 and 10 tons," Edgar Leal Hernandez, an archaeologist with Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), told Efe Thursday.

Further investigation at the dig uncovered human remains and tools that indicate members of pre-Columbian cultures came into contact with the skeleton of the mammoth.