Cavers find mass fossil deposit

2012-07-25 14:17

Sydney - Australian scientists said on Wednesday cavers had stumbled upon a vast network of tunnels containing fossils that could offer key insights into species' adaptation to climate change.

The limestone caves in Australia's far north contained what University of Queensland palaeontologist Gilbert Price described as a "fossil goldmine" of species ranging from minute rodents and frogs to giant kangaroos.

Once part of an ancient rainforest, the remote site now lies in arid grassland and Price said the fossilised remains could hold key clues about how the creatures had adapted to climate change and evolved to their current forms.

The caves' oldest specimens are estimated to be 500 000 years old. Price said they lived in a period of major aridification of central Australia and retreat of the rainforest that triggered a "formal extinction event".

"What we're trying to do up here is really look at the fossils and look at the animals and see how they responded to those prehistoric climatic changes, and that's something that's really quite relevant to today," Price said.

Slow work

He said the caves could serve as an important benchmark to contrast modern relatives against, to understand how they had evolved.

"We've got the question of what the effect of modern climate change is going to be on the organisms that we have around us, and the reality is we just don't know because we don't have any significant period of ecological sampling of the modern faunas," said Price.

"Just having an understanding of how they responded in the past is incredible, it's something that we can use and plug into models for conservation going into the future."

The smaller creatures were thought to have been carried into the cave by a predator such as an owl, while the larger ones, including a 2.2m, 180kg mega kangaroo, probably tumbled into it through a hole.

It is slow work, with access to the caves difficult and time-consuming. Price said it would take a year to work through the 120kg of fossil-rich sediment they had managed to carry out of the site on foot so far.

Local cavers had uncovered more tunnels in the past week alone, each producing "something of significance" and Price said there was "potentially many lifetimes' worth of work in the area".

  • CaptainGaza - 2012-07-25 14:43

    Oh Oh, this is uncool news for creationists.

      CaptainGaza - 2012-07-25 16:12

      That sir is a URL for youtube, NEXT!!!!

      QuintSch - 2012-07-25 16:12

      @ CaptainGaza And why is that? Just because phrases like 'estimated to be 500 000 years old' and 'potentially many lifetimes' worth of work in the area' are thrown around doesn't mean they are true. The only truth is that the words 'esimated' and 'potentially' get used and then evolutionists want everyone to believe that (microbes-to-microbiologist) type evolution is fact. The evidence of what was discovered is the same for the evolutionist as well as the creationist and does not 'speak for itself' - it depends on ones world-view as to how this evidence is interpreted. And this evidence can just as easily (I will suggest even better) be aligned and consistent with the creationist view. So which 'religion' do you want to align yourself with? 1. The infallible, inerrant, word of God that is the only objective and absolute truth, that explains clearly that everything that exists within our universe was created by God who is eternal and omniscient and gives us a wonderful hope of eternal life with Him? 2. Or the secular/atheist religion of evolutionism made up by fallible, errant men who proselytise a rebellion against our Creator, saying we all come from some slimy mud pool and have absolutely no purpose with no hope for the future after we die? I know which one is the truth and the one I choose.

      clinton.badenhorst - 2012-07-25 16:18

      @ QuintSch - Well said!!!

      CaptainGaza - 2012-07-25 16:21

      Quinch, despite all the evidence against your good book you choose to see the world through god goggles. These goggles distort your view of reality. I have no qualm with people believeing in what they want to but when they choose to ignore evidence then I have to class them as stupid and lazy. Creationists will deny evolution tooth and nail as it is in direct contradiction to their creation story. Like I said, if you choose to believe against evidence I cant change that, but I can do is at least educate youngsters not believe the BS in your good book. Keep it country

      jody.beggs - 2012-07-25 16:22

      @QuintSch atheism is not a religion and lying about it just makes you a turd. The "The infallible, inerrant, word of God" allows for virgins to be raped then marry there rapist and the rapists gets a fine , but that's ok by xian standards. Go play crazy somewhere else. "errant men who proselytise a rebellion against our Creator" , if by that you mean scientific advances , you'll be a hypocrite when you rely on science to use a computer , drive a car and god forbid , save you from death. The most ironic point of being a xian is they always delay death instead of embracing it. They will finally meet their maker but are to afraid and "pray" to science to prolong there lives, pathetic. Show the difference between knowing and believing! Lying for jesus is still lying and what happens to lying sons and people giving false testimony in the buy bull ? Do they make it to heaven or get stoned ? Damn the man.

      CaptainGaza - 2012-07-25 16:24

      Well now I'm certainly gonna watch it. Bardy, if you agree with Quint it's probably a load of Rigiousturd, but do not fret oh gullable one, I will watch and report back with my commebnts.

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-07-26 13:16

      QuintSch, I agree with you

  • Bob.Cee123 - 2012-07-25 15:06

    Aha!! Satan's box o' tricks has finally been discovered.

  • gerald.mphuthi - 2012-07-25 15:26

    This is just a clue that some ancient animals that were there before man are exctinct and has nothing to do with man whatsover...

      CaptainGaza - 2012-07-25 15:44

      It has everything to do with man Gerald. Humans are not immune to evolution as creationists believe we are. We are part of nature, if it happens to animals, it happens to us as well. Remember our common ancestor we share with the apes was an animal too and was subject to its environment just like every other living organism on this planet.

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-07-26 13:15

      100% correct Gerald !!!

  • gail.hayesbean - 2012-07-25 17:21

    Fascinating stuff. Several lifetimes worth of work is disappointing but to be expected. Wish I could be here for what they find out but too old.

  • crracker.crackerr - 2012-07-25 19:37

    @ QuintSch Really? See the bible passage below. Explain: 1 Why was it necessary that god actually had to experimentally hit and and miss with the various animals as potential mates (helpers) for Adam before realising it would be a better idea to create a female human? 2 What did god have in mind with animals fulfilling the roles of Eve with a anatomically male Adam? 3 Did the animals from say Madagascar and Australia also present themselves for naming and potential candidates, to Adam? 4 What do you reckon went through Adam's mind when he saw T.Rex with those teeth coming closer? 5 What went through Eves mind when she found out that it was a toss up between her and animals? Genesis 2:18-24 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. But for Adam[a] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[b] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib[c] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

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