Odd bones found in cave of WV

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Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby WVCaver2011 » Dec 9, 2008 4:58 pm

After going into a cave near my home, I saw numerous bones that have been deposited some of which I may consider to be prehistoric but, I'm not a paleontologist so, I'll describe kinda what they looked like. It gave me an erie feeling but the skull has its eyesockets in the front just like humans, but the head is somewhat different shaped. I didn't really study this thing too much but, It looked like whatever it was that died was settin up when it did so because the skull was on top of the pile and the ribs were next, etc. I don't know for sure what it is but it doesn't look like anything i've ever seen in this area. Possibly a small sloth. What ever had it's eyes in the front of its skull. If need be I'm going back into the cave this Thursday and if you'd like i'll see If I can get a picture of it. I have fossil hunted a stuff before but ahve never delt with bones. That's actually how I got into caving in the first place. Also, the cave is a vertical cave and has a first drop of 65 feet and a second drop of 35 feet I don't know what would have survived that fall and still be able to set up afterwards. I love paleontology so what ever you guys need me to do to help let me know. I have permission from the land owner to remove the bones if needed. Of course I'll use latex gloves and all the neccasary equipment needed to remove these bones properly. I have removed trilobites from matrix of rocks before and I'm sure I can use a trowel to remove these. Let me know what to do. This cave is actually pretty secret because there's work being done to it so, I can't really have you guys come over to the cave because we don't want it well known yet.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby Phil Winkler » Dec 9, 2008 5:13 pm

Hopefully Fred Grady will see this and provide you some assistance. I do know it is often best to wait for professional guidance with events like this so important clues aren't destroyed.

This sounds like the same cave on your blog. Interesting.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby driggs » Dec 9, 2008 9:15 pm

Whoa, slow down there! If what you've found really is a valuable scientific specimen, and if it really is in a curious position that might provide evidence as to its identity or cause of death, don't you think you should let a real paleontologist see it before you tear it to bits?

In case science itself isn't enough motivation for you to go through the proper channels first, I'll point out that the State of West Virginia has some very specific laws dealing with the protection of cave resources, and without a permit from the DNR, you will be in violation of WV Code §20-7A-5 if you remove those bones from the cave, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to $500 fine and 6 months in county jail.

As someone else mentioned, Fred Grady would be a fantastic person to contact, and I'm sure he'll be excited to come check out your find, or can send in another paleontologist ASAP if he can't.

I'm not saying this to be the "cave police" or anything like that, I'd just hate to see an important scientific find get ruined or a well-intentioned person punished by law unknowingly. Here's Fred's contact info:

Fred Grady, Chairman NSS Paleo Section
NSS# 19586
1201 South Scott Street, Apt. 123
Arlington, WV 22204
703/521-0238
grady.fred@nmnh.si.edu
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby Scott McCrea » Dec 9, 2008 10:14 pm

Could be a chicken. :chicken:

Can you post some pics, either here or on your blog? I bet someone here can tell you whether is a sloth or not.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Dec 9, 2008 10:25 pm

Great find -- but these guys are right! Don't touch 'em! Get a professional in there to take a look. Plus, if you're interested in that sort of thing, you'll get to make contact with someone who knows a whole lot about cave paleontology, and is probably full of wonderful stories.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby WVCaver2011 » Dec 10, 2008 2:01 am

Don't worry guys, I haven't touched them but they may want to be removed because over the next few years these bones may be broken to bits being that they are directly beneath a talus slope that has a drop off of 35 feet. They have already been hit by massive blows do to the unknowingness of the specimen. There are also other animal remains in the cave but I don't know what significants they would have because they have been moved around over the years due to rock falls and such. I don't mind if you guys come over to investigate but i don't really want this to be a high traffic cave as of yet at least. I thought I would let you guys know. I mean don't get me wrong I don't know if the bones have any significants or not but it's always worth a check I would think. If I get the chance I'll post some pics of the specimen and put them either here or on the blog. Thank you guys for looking at the blog. We have just gotten word that it has air movement caused by chimney effect. This means that there is a high probability of a lower entrance which could also mean a big pit in this cave as well. This thing is on the very top of a hill and there are no openings for miles that we have found but I guess only time will tell.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby baa43003 » Dec 15, 2008 8:13 pm

Some modern day animals have eyes in the front, like bobcats and raccoons. A great book to identify bones and skulls is Mammalian Osteology by B. Miles Gilbert. Skulls of most North American fauna are depicted life-size from the top, side, and bottom so you can hold the skull right up to the page for easy identification. Shoulder bones, teeth, mandibles, humerus,radius, ulna, femur, tibia, and fibula bones are also shown. Only the largest of skulls and bones are sized down to fit on the pages. If you get really good photos of the skull from top, side, and bottom, I'd be happy to try and help identify it.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby graveleye » Dec 17, 2008 9:12 am

baa43003 wrote: A great book to identify bones and skulls is Mammalian Osteology by B. Miles Gilbert.


haha.. I went running to Amazon, and quickly ran away when I saw the $174 price tag for a used copy!

I would love to have a book like that though, as well as one for help identifying Pleistocene fossils.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 17, 2008 5:50 pm

WVCaver,

A picture would be great. short of that could you get a good description? Size of skull? (orange, cantalope, soccer ball, ect.) length of rib/leg bones? In particular, does the skull have any ridges on top or along the sides? Are there pronounced canine teeth ? How many teeth to a side? Be aware that "eye sockets" can be very deceiving since many animals have forward facing openings that don't necessarily correspond to the actual position of the eye.

Also be aware that brown/black bones may or may not be that old.

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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby WVCaver2011 » Dec 18, 2008 11:07 am

Okay, I will take a picture of the bones and put them onto this page when i'm able to take them. I was going to take them last thursday but my sister wouldn't let me borrow her camera that day so, I will get them ASAP. I can tell you that the bones color are a light tan. As are the majority of bones in this cave. There are some that are white near the entrance. I would say that the skull is a cantalope size. I will get more precise measurements when I have the time to go in. Hopefully this weekend. :big grin:
There's nothing that makes me more excited than finding a place underground that no one has ever seen or been in!

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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Dec 18, 2008 5:07 pm

graveleye wrote:
baa43003 wrote: A great book to identify bones and skulls is Mammalian Osteology by B. Miles Gilbert.


haha.. I went running to Amazon, and quickly ran away when I saw the $174 price tag for a used copy!

I would love to have a book like that though, as well as one for help identifying Pleistocene fossils.


Gravel,

What you found is the old hard back first edition. Those are pretty spendy as you discovered. You can get a new paperback version for about $30 from some book dealers. Like these people:

[url]http://www.acornnaturalists.com/store/search.aspx?UserID=14974291&SessionID=SacgeJmNKFFLTorwfX{n[/url]

Well, I can never figure out the link option on this board, I guess you'll have to cut and paste.

Enjoy.
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 18, 2008 7:15 pm

Actually just google Mammal Skulls and you get lots of great reference pages...for free

Cantalope size gets you up to humans, small pigs, big beaver, camels, big cats (tigers not tabbys), sheep, etc. A totally wild guess for that size would be a bear. Older species had shorter snouts and are not unheard of in caves. Of course without a picture, dental formula, or measurements it might also be sasquach :yikes:
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby WVCaver2011 » Dec 26, 2008 10:01 pm

Okay everyone, I have taken some pictures of the bones in the cave and found a jaw bone of a deer. The skull is no longer with us. It has been completly destroyed just fragments remain of it. However I did get some other pictures of bones that were intact but they could be from the deer. There were ribs and such bones that I didn't take pictures of. There are so many bones in this cave that you could take pictures all day and not have pictures of all of them. However, I cannot put the pictures on here until I get back to college sometime around the 12th of January. Keep watch and I'll have them posted as soon as I can. :cavingrocks:
There's nothing that makes me more excited than finding a place underground that no one has ever seen or been in!

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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby WVCaver2011 » Dec 29, 2008 12:40 pm

Okay, So, I was able to get to a computer that was fast enough to upload these photos on this site. I have a picture of the remains of the skull along with some other single bones as well. These are just some quick photos. I hope you guys can determine what they are just by these pictures. There weren't any significant unbroken bones in the lower pit. The lower pit underlyies a talus slope that is 40 feet above the ground so what bones are down there are most likely shattered. There are other bones that are located above the pit but most of these are rodents and such with a few various larger bones.
Image


Image

Image
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Re: Odd bones found in cave of WV

Postby wyandottecaver » Dec 29, 2008 5:40 pm

Well, I am 99% sure you have at least 1 deer and 1 racoon/fox sized small mammal. Beyond that....I couldn't find anything skull-like in your 1st picture. This looks a lot like a *dump pit* we had where some local hunters dumped their deer and fur trapping carcasses.
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