largest mammoth tusk russia
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Paleontologists are celebrating after discovering the largest mammoth tusk ever found in Russia
Paleontologists are celebrating after discovering the largest mammoth tusk ever found in Russia.

Part of the tusk of a steppe mammoth was found during an an expedition in the Ural Mountains in the Prikamye region of central Russia's Perm Krai region.

Paleontologists initially thought they had found just a small section of tusk - but when it was fully excavated it measured 3.15 metres (10ft 4ins) long and 22 centimetres (8.7 ins) in diameter.

mammoth tusk russia
© CEN/NTV
Paleontologists initially thought they had found just a small section of tusk
Head of the expedition, Tatyana Vostrikova, said: "There were a lot of hypothesis, we thought this was a small fragment, just some kind of plate of tusks.

"But the excavation revealed its true size. We were all so happy!"

The steppe mammoth was one-and-a-half times bigger than a woolly mammoth and roamed over most of northern Eurasia during the Middle Pleistocene period, between 370,000 and 600,000 years ago.

It is believed to have evolved in Siberia from the southern mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis), which was even bigger, and was an ancestor of the woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), one of the last of the mammoth line.

Steppe mammoths stood up to four metres (13.1 ft) tall at the shoulders and males had spiral tusks which could grow as long as 4.9 metres (16 ft).

Scientists are preparing the remains of the tusk so it can go on display at a local museum.

largest mammoth tusk russia
© CEN/NTV
Tatyana Vostrikova near remains of a giant prehistoric steppe mammoth
largest mammoth tusk russia
© CEN/NTV
When it was fully excavated it measured 3.15 metres (10ft 4ins) long and 22 centimetres (8.7 ins) in diameter