New Historian

Ancient Bones Unearthed in a Cave in Wyoming

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<![CDATA[One of the most bizarre discoveries was made in a northern Wyoming cave when paleontologists stumbled upon ancient bones of north American lions, short faced bears and cheetahs that used to rule the area about 25000 years ago. Reports suggest that this haul also contains magnificent rodent bones small enough that they must be examined under a microscope. What makes this find so exciting is that even small snippets of the genetic material from these long extinct species could offer us with a great deal of knowledge about the time and the conditions that were prevalent when these predators roamed freely in Wyoming. According to Brent Breithaupt, a paleontologist working for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the group is extremely excited about the potential importance of the discoveries that they have made. Although the analysis of the results is still in its preliminary stage, Brent believes that being able to descend eight stories in order to excavate the Natural Trap Cave was an experience worth a lifetime. The only way to get into or out of this natural trap cave is through a 15 foot wide hole that goes all the way down to the floor of the cave. It is believed that it is literally impossible to see the hole until you’re right next to it. Over the centuries, thousands of animals have plummeted down this 80 foot cave and as a result, the atmosphere surrounding the cave has been best described as “eerie”. Brent mentions that the bones of these unfortunate animals remained entombed, one layer upon the other, and that the sediment is considered to rise to a height of about 30 feet. Paleontologists have been hauling out the remains one bucket after the other over the past two weeks while other experts have been segregating bone-bearing sediments in the sunlight. Screens are being used to sift out the remains of these animals from all the dirt that is also being excavated along with the remains. The most promising stuff is being packed in Rubbermaid containers and is being shipped to various universities in the United States and to the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, University of Adelaide for further studies. The excavation work that has been carried out continuously from July 27, 2014 was finally termed as complete on August 8, 2014. One of the coolest aspects of the expedition is that experts are hopeful of being able to successfully identify and date their findings back in the laboratories. This should allow them to conduct more detailed studies on the excavated remains. Brent mentions that this discovery has made the Natural Trap Cave one of the most significant sites being managed by the BLM as it is expected to offer a lot of “extremely important” information. Moreover, the remains could also date back to almost 100000 years. The cave shall once again be locked up to keep out modern day animals and curious observers until the scientists return to perform more studies next summer. ]]>

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