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Plumbing a hidden trove of Pleistocene fossils

Bureau of Land Management/AP

Plumbing a hidden trove of Pleistocene fossils

An international team of scientists this morning rappelled 26 meters into a cave containing thousands of Ice Age mammoth, dire wolf, lion, cheetah, and other animal fossils dating back 100,000 years, NPR reports. It was the first time in 30 years scientists had entered Natural Trap Cave, a deep sinkhole in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains that was likely once along a major wildlife migratory corridor. Over the next 2 weeks, the team plans to retrieve fossils—hopefully containing ancient DNA—that will help them better understand how the climate change at the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age affected the animals. For footage of scientists descending into the cave, check out this segment from KULR in Billings, Montana.

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