Hundreds of thousands of bones, humans included, found in giant cave

Researchers have uncovered hundreds of thousands of bones in a giant cave, and human bones were found among various animals.

@JakConnorTT
Published Tue, Aug 17 2021 5:33 AM CDT   |   Updated Thu, Sep 16 2021 5:01 AM CDT

In a new study, researchers have reported findings on a massive lair that contains bones from at least fourteen different kinds of animals and humans.

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The cave is located in a volcanic field in Saudi Arabia called Harrat Khaybar. The cave is called Umm Jirsan, and according to researchers, it is more accurately referred to as a lava tube rather than a cave. According to zooarchaeologist Mathew Stewart from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany, "This 1.5 km long lava tube is chock-a-block with hundreds of thousands of beautifully preserved animal remains".

What brought all of these bones here? Researchers believe that the cave was home to a pack of striped hyenas, as the remains of striped hyenas were also found in the cave. Additionally, the researchers explained that striped hyenas are avid collectors of bones, and it's not unusual to find a horde of bones in a hyena den. However, this lava tube discovery is different as the horde has been accumulated over the last 7,000 years.

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Stewart said, "These critters are avid collectors of bones, which they transport to dens to be consumed, fed to young, or cached." Adding, "The material at Umm Jirsan has accumulated over the last 7,000 years, attesting to the excellent conditions for preservation of bone within the lava tube."

The researchers wrote in the study, "Taken together, the large size of the assemblage, the overabundance and intensive processing of ungulate limb bones, abundant hyena coprolites, and presence of juvenile hyena and human cranial remains suggest that Umm Jirsan served primarily as a striped hyena den, and, on occasion, as a maternal den."

If you are interested in reading more about this story, check out this link here.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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