What’s Waiting To Be Discovered Underground In Wyoming Is Creepy Yet Amazing
Caves are dark, eerie, and mysterious. Natural Trap Cave is no exception. This unusual cave is located in the base of the Bighorn Mountains. Archeologists have discovered fossils dating back 20,000 years ago, even back to the Ice Age. According to the Bureau of Land Management, “it is one of the biggest treasure troves of Ice Age mammal bones in North America.” Finds like these are so important so that we can get a better grasp of what life was like long ago so that we will have a better understanding of how life has evolved since then and how it will evolve in the future.
The cave, formed by the collapse of limestone, is 80 feet deep and has a 15 foot entrance and was discovered by scientists in 1970. As the name suggests, throughout the years, the cave has become a natural trap for animals dating back many, many years. Animals have plunged to their death because the hole in the surface of the ground is not noticeable until it’s too late. By then, the animals have lost their footing and fallen into the depths of the cave.
Some of the fossils buried beneath the sediment on the floor of the cave include mammoth, lion, cheetah, camel, bison, gray wolf, horses, lizards, rodents, snakes, and short-faced bear. The incredible thing is that over 30,000 specimens have been collected from this deadly cave. Fortunately, the fossils have been well-preserved due to the climate at the bottom of the cave.
Here is a great video by the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA of the excavation process.
The site is not open to the public but is used for research. The cave has been explored by teams from the University of Missouri, University of Kansas, and most currently by an international team of scientists. The research is currently being funded by National Geographic and the National Science Foundation. A grate now covers the opening to the cave for safety reasons.
This hidden treasure could reveal many new insights into animal life, climate changes, and the environment throughout the ages.