Spanish archaeologists have discovered ancient elephant footprints after a storm swept away much of a beach in the Andalucian proince of Huelva.
The scientists believe that the footprints could have been made over 100,000 years ago.
In addition the reserach team have revealed that the oval-shaped prints belonged to newborns, calves and juvenile straight-tusked elephants (Palaeoloxodon antiquus), suggesting that the area, known as the Matalascañas Trampled Surface, after the name of the area could have been an elephant nursery.
It is known that elephants roamed much of southern and central Europe during the middle to late Pleistocene epoch, which ended 11,700 years ago. The extinct ancient mammal stood up to 15 feet tall which is significantly more than their present-day relatives.
Scientists first spotted the tracks after storms swept away several feet of sand off a beach in Matalascañas, in the municipality of Almonte revealing a plethora of wildlife fossilised footprints including cows, pigs, deer, wolves and Neanderthals.
Scientists found hundreds of oval-shaped footprints measuring about four to 21 inches in diametre alliowing them to calculate the height and weight of each elephant.
.Each footprint belonged to an individual straight-tusked elephant, including 14 elephants under two years old.
The youngest belonged to 2-month-old elephants and were among a small herd of three mother elephants over 15 years old and eight elephants between two and seven years old and six adolescents between eight and 15 years old.