More than a year after the discovery of a large and disturbing footprint in the middle of the Tana River, a mystery has emerged over how and why the man who discovered it died and what happened next.
With a man believed to be the last of the ancient elephants to have lived in the area, scientists from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) are investigating how the giant beasts may have lived alongside humans.
The elephant’s skeletal remains have been found in a cave in the Taino Hills in northern South Africa, and it is thought that the man found the large, hairy animal by accident.
His body was found in the same cave in 2014, and scientists have not ruled out the possibility that he was killed in a bushfire, or by someone trying to kill an elephant.
In 2015, a different researcher identified a man’s footprints and teeth from a cave near Tainopore, and said that this person was possibly the same person who found the elephant.
Scientists have also said that the Tanegashima man, who is believed to have been in his 50s, may have been killed during the last months of his life, and that he may have gone missing during a bushfires.
In a statement, the Smithsonian said it was aware of the man’s death, and “we do not believe there is any way to explain his disappearance at this time.”
It is not known what prompted the man to leave his footprints and his teeth, which scientists said was “remarkable and very unusual”.
A team of scientists is now investigating the man and his remains, but has not yet released their findings.
The discovery of the footprint, along with other evidence, prompted an international hunt for the man.
Scientists from the STRI and the US Geological Survey have spent a year looking for the remains, and have found the bones in caves, in the soil, and even on top of a rock in the nearby forest.
There is no information about where the man died, nor how he was found, but the discovery has sparked renewed interest in elephants in the South African rainforests.
The man’s body was also found in 2014.
Since then, a man and a woman have been identified as the last survivors of the original elephant herd.
It is believed that they were either killed in the bushfire or in a forest clearing, but it is not clear whether they died in the fire or in the forest clearing.