Hyena Housecleaning: Thousands of Bones Discovered in Lava Tube Den

Hyena Housecleaning: Thousands of Bones Discovered in Lava Tube Den

Explorers in the Umm Jirsan lava tube find piles of bones! (Source: Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, 2021)

 

In Saudi Arabia, a collection of cattle, camel, rodent, and human bones has been discovered in a lava tube cave. The culprit? 7,000 years of hyenas. There have been investigations of the tunnel since 2007, but the sounds of snarling animals kept researchers from going too deep. To be fair, hearing growls from the pit of a bone cave is a pretty good reason to turn back.

Hyenas are known to bring scavenged bone and carcasses back to their dens in order to feed their young. Since these hyenas were living in a deep cave carved by lava, it kept the bones from significant decay, resulting in a pretty spooky sight. As messy as your room might be, it has nothing on these feliforms. Check out this article from the Smithsonian for more details!