Vanguard Cave, Gibraltar has discovered a cave chamber that was sealed off with sand for around 40,000 years. This discovery could provide more information about the Neanderthals that lived in this area at that time.
Clive Finlayson (director of the Gibraltar National Museum) said in an email that "Given the sand sealing it chamber was [40,000] year old and that the chamber therefore was older, it must be Neanderthals." The Neanderthals lived in Eurasia between about 200,000 and 40,000 years ago. They used the cave.
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Finlayson's team discovered the hollow while they were studying the cave. They discovered the hollow area, which measures 43 feet in length (13 meters), with stalactites suspended from the chamber ceiling like strange icicles.
The researchers discovered the remains of lynxes, hyenas and griffons along the cave chamber's surface. They also found a large whelk (a type of sea snail that was probably carried into the chamber by an Neanderthal), the archaeologists stated in a statement.
Researchers are excited to find out what they discover once they begin excavating. Finlayson suggested that there is a possibility that the team might uncover Neanderthal burials.
He said that he found the milk tooth belonging to a Neanderthal 4-year-old near the chamber four years back. The tooth was "associated with Hyenas, so we suspect that the Hyenas brought [the child] into the cave."
Researchers found evidence of Neanderthals' presence within the Gorham's Cave Complex. This includes a carving thought to be early Neanderthal art.
Live Science reported previously that findings suggest that our extinct relatives may have used tools and pluck feathers from birds of prey for ornaments at this cave system.
Scientists speculate that this cave system could have been the last place Neanderthals lived before their extermination around 40,000 years ago.
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Live Science originally published this article. You can read the original article here.