Scientists discover hundreds of thousands of animal, human bones in Saudi Arabia cave

Scientists discover hundreds of thousands of animal, human bones in Saudi Arabia cave

Scientists have discovered hundreds of thousands of animal and human remains in a cave in northwestern Saudi Arabia, which they believe were gathered by striped hyenas over the past 7,000 years.

According to the scientists, the discovery was uncovered in the Umm Jirsan lava tube, a 1.5-kilometer tunnel filled with “beautifully preserved” remains in the Kingdom’s Harrat Kaybar lava field.
The discovery included bones of cattle, caprids, horses, camels, rodents, and even humans.
The bones’ accumulation over thousands of years demonstrates that the lava tube provides “excellent conditions for bone preservation,” according to scientist Stewie Stewart in a Twitter thread.
“In a region where bone preservation is very, very poor, sites like Umm Jirsan offer an exciting new resource,” he added.
Based on the analyses of the sorts of bones, quantity, and location, the experts were able to deduce that the remains were carried in by stiped hyenas.
“These critters are avid collectors of bones, which they transport to dens to be consumed, fed to young, or cached,” Stewart said.
Despite the fact that the research focused on hyenas, the researchers stated in their published article that “donkeys have been a significant livestock in the region for thousands of years.”

“Umm Jirsan (and other similar sites in the region) is likely to hold valuable insights into the ecologies and environments of Holocene Arabia. This study is just the tip of the iceberg,” Stewart said.


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