A reminder to be careful when on rope. Ropes must be used correctly, which entails ensuring they will not rube against sharp edges.
This month’s video comes to you from Nevada. Our own Jeff Guest squeezes his way into TJ’s Hideout, the last little room in Goshute Cave on one of our last trips to the cave. Take a look at what anyone tall or of average weight will never get to see in person!
New findings in Spain show that early man seems to have hunted cave lions for their pelts. And why not? Lion and leopard was still fashionable back then. These were considered some of the largest lions that may have ever lived. So their pelts were large allowing early man to do a lot with them.
Pleistocene skinning and exploitation of carnivore furs have been previously inferred from archaeological evidence. Nevertheless, the evidence of skinning and fur processing tends to be weak and the interpretations are not strongly sustained by the archaeological record. In the present paper, we analyze unique evidence of patterned anthropic modification and skeletal representation of fossil remains of cave lion (Panthera spelaea) from the Lower Gallery of La Garma (Cantabria, Spain). This site is one of the few that provides Pleistocene examples of lion exploitation by humans. Our archaeozoological study suggests that lion-specialized pelt exploitation and use might have been related to ritual activities during the Middle Magdalenian period (ca. 14800 cal BC). Moreover, the specimens also represent the southernmost European and the latest evidence of cave lion exploitation in Iberia. Therefore, the study seeks to provide alternative explanations for lion extinction in Eurasia and argues for a role of hunting as a factor to take into account.
Read it all, over at PLOS
Some people would argue that bats are anything but cute. But that is simply because they have never met a bat. Some bats are very adorable. A study in 2016 analyzed a strange and cute mannerism observed in many bats: head waggling. A waggle is when the bat turns its head side to side while looking at something.
“It’s an adorable behavior, and I was curious about the purpose,” said Melville J. Wohlgemuth, a postdoctoral fellow in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “I wanted to know when bats were doing this and why. It seemed to occur as bats were targeting prey, and that turns out to be the case.”
Read about the study in all its detail over at PLOS Biology.
Much of caving deals with rope work. It is technical, tiring, but can be very fun. Here’s a video showing (not in detail) various rope set ups while exploring a cave during a training.
Do not think you are skilled enough to attempt this just from watching the video. Come join us and get real hands on training.
Getting a leg up on its competitors, a new millipede has been discovered in a cave in California. Researchers also found several other new insects.
“I never would have expected that a second species of the leggiest animal on the planet would be discovered in a cave 150 miles away,” says Paul Marek, Assistant Professor in the Entomology Department at Virginia Tech. It’s closest relative lives under giant sandstone boulders outside of San Juan Bautista, California.
In addition to the new millipede’s legginess, it also has bizarre-looking mouthparts of a mysterious function, four legs that are modified into penises, a body covered in long silk-secreting hairs, and paired nozzles on each of its over 100 segments that squirt a defense chemical of an unknown nature.
Here is a fun video following two new cavers on their first trip and explaining a bit about caving. And it is British, which is delightful.
As I was reading up on the Cave of Crystals, I discovered the full National Geographic documentary on youtube.
Merry Christmas from the Wasatch Grotto.
Perk up your ears, boys, girls, and bats because Cool Green Science posted an article about the first successful treatment of White Nose Syndrome.
An estimated 5.7 million bats have died, but finally a handful have been cured and returned to the wild successfully. This is big news in a battle that so far has been nothing but tragic.
Oddly enough, this small victory was brought to us by bananas.
Read the full report over at CTS.com.
They also posted this great video with another good article. Take a look!
I’m a film maker; flying a drone in a cave sounds a little risky. Take it from me. But if you are going to do it, why not choose some of the largest caves in the world? Check out this video and get a new perspective caving.