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Recent Paleontological Discoveries, page 3

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


them jammed with bones. Actually, very little of the cave itself exists, a deep gulch in the rocks marking where the roof of the cave was originally situated.

Although the cataloguing of the bones has not as yet been completed, it is already apparent that this new section of the Cumberland Bone Cave has supplemented many of Gidley's findings. Not only have additional bones been found which help to fill out gaps in previously discovered skeletons but several species of amphibians have been discovered. Previous to this find only mammalian remains, with the exception of a few reptilian remains and one fragment of a ruffed grouse, had been known to occur.

The accumulation of bones must have been gradual although all the mammals are pre-Wisconsin in age. The remains range in size from mastodon to bats and the diversity of types indicates that widely varying climate zones must have existed during the time of deposition. In the one cave have been found such types as the wolverine, grizzly bear, and Mustelidae which are native to the arctic. In the same cave have been found peccaries, which are the most numerous types represented, tapirs, and an antelope possibly related to the present day eland, all of which are indigenous at present to tropical regions. Ground hogs, rabbits, coyote and hare remains are indicative of the prairielands, but on the other hand such water-loving animals as beaver and muskrat would suggest a more humid condition.

Several explanations have been given for this puzzling variety of species, but the most logical seems to be that the remains collected during a sufficient length of time to allow for a gradual change in climate from one extreme to the other. If a time range of fifty thousand years is postulated for the length of time necessary to accomplish this then the diversity of bones can be easily accounted for and still place the remains in the age usually assigned to them. Before the advance of the last ice sheet, a semi-tropical climate pervaded the region. Then, with the advancing ice sheet, the tropical animals migrated south and the land became the habitat of animals native to the arctic region. Hence, it is not all unusual to find peccary bones intermingled with martens and specimens of the Ursidae.



Bro G. Nicholas


Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Editor: Felix G. Robinson

Maryland, History


Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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