A cave that was sealed with sand for about 40,000 years was discovered at Vanguard Cave in Gibraltar and is a find that could reveal more about the Neanderthals living in the area at that time.
We found the tooth of a 4-year-old Neanderthal near the cave four years ago. The tooth was associated with hyenas and we suspect that the hyenas brought the child [who was probably dead] to the cave.
"Since the sand that sealed the chamber was [40,000] years old and the chamber was even older, it must have belonged to Neanderthals," who lived in Eurasia about 200,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Researchers studying the cave last month discovered the hollow area. After climbing through it, they found that it is 43 feet (13 meters) long, with stalactites hanging from its roof.
Along its surface, researchers found the remains of a lynx, a hyena and a griffin, as well as a large railway.
Researchers are looking forward to seeing what they will find as soon as they start excavating. One possibility is that the team will discover Neanderthal burials, said Finlayson, the team leader.
"We found the tooth of a 4-year-old Neanderthal near the cave four years ago," he said. The tooth was "associated with hyenas and we suspect that the hyenas brought the child [who was probably dead] to the cave".
Researchers have uncovered much evidence for the presence of Neanderthals in the cave system, called the Goraham Cave, including a carving that may have been an early Neanderthal work of art.
In addition, the findings show that in this cave system, our closest extinct relatives slaughtered seals, plucked birds' feathers to wear as ornaments and used tools, Live Science reported.
Scientists speculate that this cave may have been one of the last places Neanderthals lived before disappearing about 40,000 years ago.
Source: Live Science