Woolly mammoth unearthed in Michigan field

(REUTERS) - It was a discovery of prehistoric proportions.

A Michigan farmer found the remains of a woolly mammoth while digging with a friend in his soy field.

The bones are at least 10,000 years old.

"What we found here is a partial skeleton of a woolly mammoth," said Daniel Fisher, the director of the Museurm of Palaeontology at the University of Michigan. "It was an adult male, probably in its forties at the time of its death."

Palaeontologists from the University of Michigan have taken over the site. They believe the animal was killed by humans, who butchered and stored the meat there.

"Our working hypothesis for what we're dealing with here is a partial skeleton, the pieces having been brought to this place by ancient humans for storage of carcass parts in a pond," continued Fisher.

"It was their intent to come back later and retrieve this when they needed fresh meat," he added. 

Mammoths are distant relatives of the elephant that inhabited North America before they became extinct around 10,000 years ago.