Spelunkers find 27,000-year-old claw marks in hidden cave untouched for millennia

By a small rocky gap, archaeologists might really feel the air — might inform some unknown house lay simply past their attain. They pushed by means of the sealed up a passageway and shined a flashlight across the cavern. What lay earlier than them exceeded all of their expectations.

The archaeologists in Spain had been exploring the underground caverns of the Cueva del Arco when a specific spot caught their consideration, in keeping with a Friday, Feb. 3, information launch from the College of Murcia. The sediment-filled spot appeared like a sealed up passageway into one other cavern.

The spelunkers started to excavate, slowly and painstakingly, hoping they’d discover one thing to take the time worthwhile. They dug into the rocky cave wall, and air started coming by means of the opening.

Researchers digging into the sealed passageway.

Ignacio Martín Lerma, lead archaeologist and professor on the College of Mercia, ultimately managed to poke his head by means of the passageway, the discharge stated. He anticipated to see a mean sized chamber.

As an alternative, he discovered himself staring right into a humongous cavern. The cavern — untouched for millennia — was nearly a mile lengthy and had vaulted ceilings nearly 65 toes excessive. Movies of the cavern present the large underground house.

Exploring the cavern, the spelunkers made one other discovery: claw marks. The scratches had been discovered on most of the cave partitions and left by cave bears, researchers stated.

The claw marks found in the cavern.

The claw marks discovered within the cavern.

European cave bears went extinct between 27,000 to twenty-eight,000 years in the past, in keeping with Britannica. The cave bears had been anyplace from 880 to 2,200 kilos and related in dimension to Kodiak bears present in Alaska or polar bears discovered within the Arctic.

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“The identification of cave bear claw marks on many areas of the partitions makes the cave a significant, and actually distinctive, instance of a spot the place these enormous mammals lived in southern Europe,” the discharge stated, in keeping with a translation from The Guardian.

Researchers started exploring the caverns of the Cueva del Arco in 2015, per the discharge. Quite a few settlements starting from 7,000 years previous to 50,000 years previous have been uncovered within the cave system.

The excavation to reopen the sealed passageway started in 2018 however was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers stated. The hidden cavern has not been fully explored, and analysis is ongoing.

Cueva del Arco is within the Area of Murcia and about 225 miles southeast of Madrid.

Google Translate was used to translate the information launch from the College of Murcia.

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