Friday, August 15, 2014

Cave full of bones found

To archaeologists' delight, a cave site continues to yield thousands of dead animal bones from past periods. The site, Natural Trap Cave at the base of Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming, was found in the 1970s and then yielded a variety of bones of mammoths, short-faced bears, collared lemmings, and camels. Today, archaeologists are finding bones of animals that were bigger than humans, megafauna, including the North American lion and the American cheetah There is a good video of the lead archaeologist from Australia talking about how a rat fell into the cave one night-splat- and is still alive and looking rather unhappy. The video has  interesting questions and answers that the non-archaeologist can understand  about modern archaeology. Archaeologists have to rappel 85 feet down from the mouth of the cave to the area where the bones lie. It is like a refrigerator in there, which has helped preserve the bones and DNA.  It is also interesting to hear about the issues archaeologists encounter when they return to Australia with samples. Customs officials are not happy about soil and bone samples entering the nation. The archaeologists are looking for a museum which can keep the bones cold to preserve them and the DNA. Read more about it at http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/09/us/wyoming-prehistoric-remains/index.html?hpt=us_c2 

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