Expedition Finds Giant Panda Fossils in China’s Longest Cave

By Matthew Bossons, April 1, 2019

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Researchers announced last week that the skeletal remains of an ancient giant panda were discovered in China’s longest cave, Shuanghe cave, which is located in Guizhou province. Situated adjacent to the fossilized panda bones was a human skeleton, according to Global Times.   

The team that made the discoveries was composed of experts from China and Europe, and was the 21st expedition into the 257.4-kilometer-long cave.

According to a CCTV report, the subterranean tunnels have previously yielded giant panda remains: an expedition in 2016 reportedly discovered numerous fossils from ancient pandas. In addition to panda fossils, according to a China Daily report from 2016, researchers also found fossilized bear and elephant bones.

It is believed the vertebrate remains were washed into the cave and deposited were water flow was slow. Over time, the bones became fossils.

One of the most interesting discoveries to come out of the recently concluded survey of Shuanghe cave is the fact the cave is at least 257.4 kilometers long – 18.9 kilometers longer than the measurement from 2018. The cave is now recognized as the world’s fifth longest cave.

Discovered in the late 1980s, the cave has ‘grown’ considerably since its discovery. In 2016, it was believed that Shuanghe cave was 186 kilometers long, while in 2014 the cave was measured at 161 kilometers.

[Cover image via Xinhua h/t China Daily]

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