Located near Les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil in the Dordogne department. Font-de-Gaume cave contents contain paintings in several colours dating to almost 30,000 years.
While exploring the area, in 1901 Denis Peyrony discovered the paintings.
Prehistoric people lived in the Dordogne valley around 25000 thousand years ago. The cave was inhabited for several thousand years. Something must have happened. Because there after, the cave is believed to be long forgotten.
Many of the drawings date from around 19,000 years ago. The most famous is of 5 bison, and was discovered by accident in the 1960s when scientists were cleaning the cave. More than 230 figures are believed to have been recorded in the cave. Included is 80 bison, 40 horses and 20 mammoths. Some say there are even more yet to be discovered.
Did you know? 200 of the paintings are in multi colour. Making Font-de-Gaume one of the best examples of polychrome (multi colour) paintings other than Lascaux.
The area has no fewer than 37 decorated caves and shelters, as well as an even greater number of habitation sites from the upper paleolithic (cave man) era. These sites are the highest concentration in Europe. Geologically, the Vézère drainage basin covers one fourth of the département of the Dordogne (river). At its centre point, the river’s course is marked by a series of turns flanked by high limestone cliffs.
The entrance to the Lascaux Cave was discovered by 18-year-old Marcel Ravidat when his dog, Robot, fell in a hole, in 1940. It was getting late in the year, and in an dangerous area, so he decided to return with some friends another day. They entered carefully through a 15m or 50 feet shaft. The teenagers discovered that the cave walls were covered with depictions of animals. Some dating to an estimated 17,000 years.
6,000 figures: animals, human figures, and abstract signs, in about 600 areas were found. Using mineral pigments, red, yellow, and black colours were crushed and mixed from a complex multiplicity of plants and minerals. Included was iron compounds such as iron oxide (ochre), hematite, and goethite, As well as manganese-containing pigments. These were a little more advanced than taking charcoal from a stick and drawing on the wall. Many of the images are now precisely studied. 364 paintings are horses, as well as 90 paintings of horned deer. Also represented are cattle and bison, each representing 4 to 5% of the images. There are a bunch of other unique images, includes seven felines, a bird, a bear, a rhinoceros, and a human.
The most famous section of the cave is the Hall of the Bulls where bulls, equines, aurochs, stags, and even a cave bear is depicted. One of the 36 animals represented here is a bull. It is 5.2 metres (17 ft 1 in) long. The largest animal discovered so far in cave art. And, some of the bulls in this drawing appear to be in motion. On some of the other cave walls, unique art methods were used. It is believed colour was applied as a suspension of pigment in either animal fat or calcium-rich cave groundwater or clay, and applied using swabbed or blotted paint, instead of brush. In a few other areas, the colour was applied by spraying the pigments by blowing the mixture through a tube. Many images are faint or totally deteriorated. Where the rock surface is softer, some designs were incised into the stone.
Did you know? After the cave had been opened, 15 years later, by 1955, carbon dioxide, heat, humidity, and other contaminants produced by 1,200 visitors per day had visibly damaged the paintings. As air condition deteriorated, fungi and lichen increasingly infested the walls. Consequently, the cave was closed to the public in 1963, and instead, it was decided 4 replicas get created nearby the cave site.
Formed in the twisting calcareous rock passages of Mount Vispieres. Around 13,000 years ago a rockfall sealed the Altamiras entrance. Its contents were preserved until its eventual discovery, which occurred after a nearby tree fell and disturbed the fallen rocks.
It was 1868 was when Modeso Cubillas discovered the Altamira cave. The cave is approximately 1,000 m (3,300 ft) long. A few years after its discovery, feeling so inclined, Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, and the university of Madrid begin studying the cave. In 1880, with support of others, reports of the cave were published, to initial public acclaim. It began a debate began about the abstract thinking for the time, and if humans were able to draw this way 10s of thousands of years ago. It stopped around 1902, (and continued on), when more caves were found in this and the French region(s).
Did you know? Before 18,500; and, after 15,000 years ago there was evidence of human life. During the two millennia in-between, in was believed prehistoric megafauna inhibited the cave.
Cave life 10,000: The ‘polychrome ceiling’ is the most impressive feature of the cave. Depicting a herd of extinct steppe bison (bison priscus) in different poses; two horses, a large doe, and possibly a wild boar. Human occupation was limited to the cave mouth, although paintings were created throughout the length of the cave. Charcoal, ochre and hematite were used to create the images. Diluting these pigments to produce variations in intensity and creating an impression of chiaroscuro. They also exploited the natural contours of the cave walls to give their subjects a three-dimensional effect.
Did you know? The drawings were very well preserved. And, it could have been the oils and gases used in lanterns. A number of years after Altamiras discovery, in early 1900, it was discovered early ancestors or those from the stone age could had used marrow fat.
Visitors and replicas: During the 1970s, and 2000s, the paintings were being damaged by visitors carbon dioxide and vapor. Altamira was completely closed in the late 1970s; reopened for a bit, and again was closed in early 2000s.
Interested in seeing Altamiras reproductions? The National Museum and Research Center of Altamira; National Archaeological Museum of Spain; Deutsches Museum Germany (1964); and, Japan (1993).
Its soft clay-like floor retains the paw prints of cave bears along with large, rounded depressions that are believed to be the “nests” where the Europen cave bears slept. In Grotte Chauvet-point d’arc, fossilized bones are abundant, and include the skulls of cave bears, and the horned skull of an ibex.
Located near the commune of Vallon-Pont-d’Arc. On a limestone cliff, above the former bed of the river Ardèche, in the Gorges de l’Ardèche, is Chauvet cave. It is situated above the previous course of the Ardèche river before the Pont d’Arc opened up. The gorges of the Ardèche region and the site are numerous. There are many caves, much of them having some geological or archaeological importance.
This cave is amongst the best preserved caves in the world. Chauvet cave remained untouched for possibly thousands of years before it was discovered in 1994. Evidence suggests that it was due to a landslide which covered its historical entrance. Left with the cave bear foot prints were little child’s footprints, the charred remains of ancient hearths, and carbon smoke stains from torches that lit the caves.
Like many European caves, dates have been a matter of dispute. A study published in 2012 supports placing the art approximately 32,000–30,000 years ago. A newer study published in 2016, using additional 88 radiocarbon dates ,showed two periods of habitation, one 37,000- 33,500; and, the other from 31,000 to 28,000 years ago. Most of the black drawings were from even earlier periods.
Artistic ‘shamanal’ components? Some say a magical ‘venus’ figure composed of what appears to be a vulva attached to an incomplete pair of legs is seen in the cave. Above the Venus, and in contact with it, is a bisons head. Most had led to describe the composite drawing as a Minotaur (half bull), or Centaur (half horse), or ??. The cave even has panels of red ochre hand stencils. From blowing the crushed up pigments of ochre over hands pressed against the caves surface. And, abstract markings—lines and dots—are found throughout the cave. There are also two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly or avian shape to them. This and/or the combination of subjects (including other caves in the area) lead many to believe that there was a ritual, shamanic, or magical aspect to these paintings, and lives of humans, tens of thousands of years ago.
Lots of drawings: The artists who produced these paintings used techniques rarely found in other cave art. Many of the paintings appear to have been made only after the walls were scraped clear of debris and concretions, leaving a smoother and noticeably lighter area upon which the artists worked. Popular paintings include what is suggested as being a dog, however these have been challenged as being a wolf. Hundreds of animal paintings have been catalogued, depicting at least 13 different species. Rather than depicting only the familiar herbivores that predominate in Paleolithic cave art, i.e. horses, aurochs, mammoths, etc., the walls of the Chauvet Cave feature many predatory animals, e.g., cave lions, leopards, bears, and cave hyenas. There is also paintings of whoolly rhinoceroses. Which had not been found in North America. One drawing, later overlaid with a sketch of a deer, is reminiscent of a volcano spewing lava, similar to the regional volcanoes that were active at the time. If confirmed, this would represent the earliest known drawing of a volcanic eruption.
Family members Sergey Zimov, and Nikita Zimov are testing a big hypothesis. Repopulating with large herbivores (and predators) can restore rich grasslands ecosystems. And, that if overhunting, and not climate change was primarily responsible for the pleistocene epoch, quanternary, or big event 11,700 years ago.
Another main aim, is to research the changes expected by the climatic effects of restoring the 10,000 year old plus ecosystem. The hypothesis is that change from tundra to grassland will result in a raised ratio of energy emission to energy absorption of the area, leading to less thawing of permafrost, and thereby less emission of greenhouse gases. It is also thought that stomping and the removal of snow by large herbivores will reduce permafrost insulation sucking in the pollution, even in cold winter.
Melted permafrost is changing the planet: Greenhouse gasses are warming the planet. Some areas, like Siberia (Russia has 11 of the 18 million square km of permafrost), it is observed more than others. But believe it or not. When there is a lot of snow, the ground and the permafrost do not get much colder in winter. Its why its called permafrost. When these soils thaw though, old microorganisms wake up and attack. What they have not had time to consume. Releasing carbon dioxide when the soil is dry, and methane when it is saturated with water. Due to climate change, it doesn’t help because this area, it is experiencing more rain. From the melting of the permafrost, if it was only co2 released, rather than both co2 and methane. The emissions is equivalent to that of human beings. For the greenhouse effect (and thus melting of the permafrost) methane gas can be 4 times worse than carbon dioxide. Resulting in even greater global warming. It is a big paradox. Many people do not understand this. The methane released from permafrost is more dangerous than carbon dioxide and both are bad. In the grassland ecosystem, everything that grew during the summer must be consumed in the winter. Large herbivores need to eat. The only way to access the grass during the cold season is to dig through the cold snow. The parks animals dig in the snow all winter long. This contributes greatly to the cooling of the soil. And, absorption and release of the greenhouse gases. It was observed that many greenhouse gases decreased during the first year and a half of covid19. While things were shut down. Instead of decreasing the methane gases increased. Due the permafrost melting. Regularly observed were appearances of new small springs where methane gases were bubbling up, in areas that used to be snow and permafrost. Other than the permafrost melting, and being replaced by trees shurbs and mosses. Not grasses, which prehistoric herbivores eat up, and stomp down. Many cannot see any other explanation for preventing this high concentration. The theory purposes that restoring the wildlife and ecosystem will absorb more greenhouse gases and help restore our natural environment. Sergey has been quoting telling the UN: “I created Pleistocene Park to observe how quickly animals could transform the moss tundra into productive grassland… why had the natural environment, which had known so many grasslands, horses, bison, mammoths, become so poor?” Permafrost has long been treated like an unwanted child in the scientific family. Reports are that by 2100 we will have lost another 10-20 percent. It is a big controversial topic.
Goals: Researching the effects of large herbivores on the arctic tundra/grasslands ecosystem, and preserving the environment; and, To research the climatic effects of the expected changes in the ecosystem. Here the key concept is that some of the effects of the large herbivores, such as eradicating trees and shrubs or trampling snow, will result in a stronger cooling of the ground in the winter, leading to less thawing of permafrost during summer and thereby less emission of greenhouse gases.
Sergei Zimov points out contradiction to this scenario: Similar climatic shifts occurred in previous interglacial periods without causing such massive environmental changes as we are seeing today; Those large herbivores of the former steppe that survived until today (e.g. musk oxen, bison, horses) thrive in humid environments just as well as in arid ones; and, The climate (both temperatures and humidity) in today’s northern Siberia is in fact most similar to that of the mammoth steppe.
Did you know? Permafrost is a large global carbon reservoir that has remained frozen throughout much of the Holocene. It is ground that continuously remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for two or more years. It is not necessarily under the snow too. Sometimes it is found hundreds of meteres deep. Due to the recent climate changes, the permafrost is increasingly thawing, releasing stored carbon and forming thermokarst lakes. When the thawed permafrost enters the thermokarst lakes, its carbon is converted into carbon dioxide and methane and released into the atmosphere. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and the methane emissions from thermokarst lakes have the potential to initiate a positive feedback cycle. In which increased atmospheric methane concentrations lead to amplified global climate change. Which keeps the ball rolling to more permafrost thaw, more methane and more carbon dioxide emissions. Included in the higher temperatures, rain and climate change you see in almost all places today.
Implementation & background: regional pleistocene ecoregions. Regenerate the pleistocene terrain with its different ecological habitats such as taiga, tundra, steppe and alpine terrain: Mainly recreate the extensive grasslands that covered the Beringia region in the late pleistocene. Mammoth steppe with large and medium herbivores. Species woolly mammoth, woolly rhino, steppe wisent, lena Horse, muskox, and reindeer. Saiga antelope, some massive herds. On the edges, barrier shrub-like terrain, and dry conifer forests (similar to taiga): woolly rhinoceros, moose, wapiti, yukon wild ass, and camels. Beyond this, mountains, more mountain-going animals like: snow sheep. Variety of carnivorous mammals. Like on the plains: beringian cave lion, apex predators, shared grey wolf, cave hyena, homotherium, brown bear, wolverine, and arctic fox. In shrubs and forests there were also brown bears, wolverines, cave bears, lynxes, tigers, leopards, and red foxes.
Did you know? Siberian tiger and Amur leopard occupied the southern present Russian-Sino border in the Amur and Primorye regions. And, both have been purposed for the park.
Proposed procedure: Few of the former species of megafauna are left; and their population density is extremely low, too low to affect the environment. Desired results density raised artificially by fencing in and concentrating existing large herbivores. A large variety of species is important as each species concerns. For example are the effects on the flora (are the mosses being replaced by grasses, etc.), the effects on the atmosphere (changes in levels of methane, carbon dioxide, water vapor) and the effects on the permafrost. Once a high density of herbivores over a vast area has been reached, predators larger than the wolves will have to be introduced to keep the megafauna in check.
Did you know? It is believed anywhere permafrost currently exsists, or even areas burned from forest fire, the mammoth steppe can be re-created. Reducing greenhouse gases. The rate of decomposition of organic matter in the soil where there were fires depends mainly on temperature. Introducing grasses and mammoth steepe slows the process down. The only way to force the soil to retain carbon is to cool it down. For a long time, scientists have known, that dark forests absorb the sun’s rays, while the lighter, snow-covered grasslands reflect them in winter. Having a combination can have positive effects on the permafrost and environment.
Pleistocene progress: -1988–1996: The first grazing experiments began in 1988 at the northeast science station in Chersky with yakutian horses. -1996–2004: In 1996 a 50 ha (125 acre) enclosure was built in Pleistocene Park. As a first step in recreating the ancient landscape, the yakutian horses were introduced, as horses most abundant ungulates. Moose, already present in the region, introduced. The effects of larger animals (mammoths and buffalo) created by using a tank and 8×8 Argo to crush pathways through the willowshrub.
Experiment working: The vegetation in the park started to change. In the areas where the horses grazed, the soil compacted. Mosses, weeds and willow shrub were replaced by grass. Flat grassland is now the dominating landscape inside the park. When air temperature sank to −40 °C (−40 °F) in winter, the temperature of the ground was found to be only –5 °C (+23 °F) under an intact cover of snow, but −30 °C (−22 °F) where the animals had trampled down the snow. The grazers thus help keep permafrost intact, thereby lessening the amount of methane released by the tundra. -2004–2011: A new fence was erected. After complete, reindeer and more moose were brought into the park. A 32 meter (105 foot) high tower was erected in the park, in 2007, that constantly monitors the levels of methane, carbon dioxide and water vapor in the park’s atmosphere. Muskox from Wrangel island were reintroduced in 2010 In 2011, Altai wapiti were introduced -2011–2016: Construction of a new branch begun on the “Wild field section”, and greater energy monitoring stations were put in. -2017–present: yak, and sheep were brought to the park. More plans for future.
Reception & Controversial aspects: Critics admonish that introducing alien species could damage the fragile ecosystem of the existing tundra. Scientist Sergey Zimov replies: “Tundra – that is not an ecosystem. Such systems had not existed on the planet [before the disappearance of the megafauna], and there is nothing to cherish in the tundra. Of course, it would be silly to create a desert instead of the tundra, but if the same site would evolve into a steppe, then it certainly would improve the environment. If deer, foxes, bovines were more abundant, nature would only benefit from this. And people too. However, the danger still exists, of course, you have to be very careful. If it is a revival of the steppes, then, for example, small animals are really dangerous to release without control. As for large herbivores – no danger, as they are very easy to remove again.” Another concern point is a majority of species cant be introduced in harsh conditions. For example, according to some critics, the yakutian horses, would not survive without food supply and human intervention. Mostly in the fall when water freezes and before the snow hits (the horses eat the snow for water, but cant lick the ice as easily).
Positive reception: Project drawdown claims the park as: “100 most substantive solutions to global warming”. Total costs and lifetime savings were monitored in the study. In January 2020, a study from the University of Oxford assessed the viability of the park’s goals. It was estimated, if three large-scale experimental were set up, each containing 1000 animals. Over a ten year period, that 72,000 metric tons of carbon could be held and generate 360,000 US dollars in carbon revenues.
Visitors: The park is a select hub for a small number of journalists; and, international scientists, and students, who come from around the world to conduct their own ecological research and experiments.
Size and administration: Pleistocene Park is a 160 km square scientific nature reserve (Zakaznik) consisting of willow brush, grasslands, swamps, forests and a multitude of lakes. The average temperature in January is about –33 °C; and, in July +12 °C; annual precipitation is 200–250 mm. The reserve is surrounded by a 600 km 2 buffer zone.
Animals: Herbivores: Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus); Elk; Moose (Alces alces); Yakutian horses; Muskox (Ovibos moschatus); and European bison, Bison bonasus).
Muskoxen family: Domestic yak (Bos mutus grunniens); Edilbaevskaya sheep (a domestic breed of sheep); Kalmykian cattle (a domestic breed of cattle adapted for the Mongolian steppe); Plains bison (Bison bison bison); Orenburg fur goat (Capra aegagrus hircus); and, Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus).
Carnivores: Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx); Tundra wolf (Canis lupus albus); Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus); Eurasian brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos); Wolverine (Gulo gulo); Red fox (Vulpes vulpes); Sable (Martes zibellina); and, Stoat (Mustela erminea).
Did you know? Harvard universities geneticist George Church, and others are working on a plan to genetically resurrect woolly mammoths.
Animals that could be placed in the park if revived from extinction: Woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius); Cave lion (Panthera spelaea); Steppe bison (Bison priscus); Woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis); Irish elk (Megaloceros giganteus); and, Cave bear (Ursus spelaeus).
Slip into your own pleistocene freedom. Wander free and create your own natural time of life. Your kind will grow stronger and stronger, as the millennia go on and on and on. Earth may overflow with life one day again. Maybe one day, all of our mistakes may even be taken back. And if it does. And, if we save the planet and be ourselves, that will be the sh*t.
Titles include: mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist, conservationist, explorer, author, science communicator, activist, and scientist. Flannery is a supporter of renewable energy, phasing out coal power and rewilding.
He was raised as a regular kid near Melbourne. At a young age he became aware of marine pollution and its effect on the ecosystem. Later he earned a under grad degree, and achieved his masters and phd degrees from Austriaian universities. He also proclaimed a visiting chair at Harvard. Was a director of the south Australian museum. And, has worked with climate risk Austrailia.
Cool fact: At age 26, he was hired by the mammalogy department of the Australian Museum. He took his first trips to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and elsewhere, later becoming mammal curator at the museum. He took 15 trips in total to New Guinea starting in 1981, and into the 1990s. After one trip, a tapeworm he found was sent to the parasitologist. It was revealed to be a new species, and was later named ‘Burtiela flanneryi’ after him. Working closely with local tribes to undertake fieldwork. Experiences were later recounted in his book: Throwin Way Leg (1998).
Other memberships and publishing: Flannery has written hundreds of books and articles. Both fiction and non-fiction (mostly). He is a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a governor of WWF-Australia. He was for a time director of the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. He has contributed to over 143 scientific papers. Flannery is a professorial fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne. Until mid-2013 he was a professor at Macquarie University and held the Panasonic Chair in Environmental Sustainability.
Palaeontology: In 1980, Tim discovered an dinosaur fossil on the southern coast of Victoria, called the Allosaurid. It was the first from the family known found in Australia. In 1985, he was apart of the team to discover the first Mesozoic mammal fossil discovered in Australia. During the 1980s, Flannery described most of the known pleistocene megafaunal species in New Guinea as well as the fossil record of the phalangerids, a family of possums. As part of his doctoral studies, he reviewed the evolution of macropodidae (kangeroos/wallabies). He has described at least 29 new fossil species, including 11 new genera, and, 3 new subfamilies.
Mammalogy: In the 1990s, Flannery published the Mammals of New Guinea (Cornell press); and, Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea (Johns Hopkins press). Both are the most comprehensive reference works on the subjects. The specific name of the greater monkey-faced bat (pteralopex flanneryi), described in 2005, honours Tim for his work.
Climate change communication: In the 1990s, while doing fieldwork in New Guinea, Flannery observed a change in the elevational range of trees. He realised it’s likely to do with the impacts of climate change. Subsequently he began working on climate change more seriously. Shape shifting to campaigning and publicly communicating about climate change. This prominence occasionally created hostility from the media. His academic peers were also initially critical of Flannery for speaking outside of his primary area of expertise. When discussing this in 2009, Flannery said that climate change science was a less established field earlier in his career. And that multiple experts from different fields had shifted to respond to the as well. He claimed publicly funded scientists are obliged to communicate their work and be vocal on important issues. Flannery has frequently discussed the effects of climate change, particularly on Australia, and advocates for mitigation. Regarding links between climate change and the unprecedented recent Austrailian bushfires. He has stated: “I am absolutely certain that [the bushfires are] climate change caused.”
Australian climate commission and climate council: In 2011, Flannery was appointed to head the Climate Commission, to explain climate change, and the need for a carbon price to the Austraian public. By 2013 (after the next election), Flannery and others launched a new body called the Climate Council. He stated that its goals: “to provide independent information on the science of climate change.
Book highlights: The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People, 1994 A bestseller. The book regards three “future eater” waves of Austrian and New Guinea human migration. The first wave migrated from Southeast Asia approximately 40,000 to 60,000 years ago. The second was polynesian migration to New Zealand and surrounding islands 800 to 3,500 years ago. And, the third and final wave was European colonization at the end of the 18th century. Flannery described the evolution of the first wave of future-eaters: “Sixty thousand or more years ago human technology was developing at what we would consider to be an imperceptible pace. Yet it was fast enough to give the first Australasians complete mastery over the ‘new lands’. Freed from the ecological constraints of their homeland and armed with weapons honed in the relentless arms race of Eurasia, the colonisers of the ‘new lands’ were poised to become the world’s first future eaters.” His book was adapted into a series on television.
Weather makers: history and future impact of climate change, 2005 He spent 5 years writing. The book highlights: sea levels rising, larger storms and species extinction. It also deals with mitigation to reducing emissions, and using solar, and wind power. Other points included the global carbon dictatorship; and, Geothermia. Geothermia, is a city taking advantage of gas reserves on the NSW, Queensland and south Austrialian provincial borders due to climate change. It highlights an urgency to reduce climate change, especially for the larger Austrialian cities.
Article from ‘External frontier’ proposal: “Pleistocene rewilding”: restoring the ecosystems that existed in north America before the arrival of the clovis people and the concomitant disappearance of the north American pleistocene megafauna 13,000 years ago. He was the second major scientist, after Paul S Martin, to recommend restoring ecosystems that existed in north America before the arrival of the clovis people. Its highlights included that in addition to the wolves that have been already re-introduced to Yellowstone national park, ambush predators, such as jaguars and lions should be reintroduced as well. In order to bring the number of elk in control. The closest extant relatives of the species that became extinct around the clovis period could be introduced to North America’s nature reserves as well. For example, he purposed Indian and African elephants could substitute, respectively, for the mammoth and the mastodon. The Chacoan peccary, for its extinct cousin the flat-headed peccary (Platygonus compressus). Llamas and panthers, which still survive outside of the US, should too be brought back to that country.
Did you know? In July 2018, at the King Solomon islands, he played a role in the Kwaio Reconciliation programme. It brought an end to a 91-year-old cycle of killings that stemmed from the murders, in 1927 of British Colonial officers, Bell and Gillies, by Kwaio leader Basiana and his followers.
There was a time when we valued $100 pieces of plastic w/ copper and precious metals. Combined with disease, and vaccines, so corporations could amount mass data. A microchipped robotic digital future.
Yet we don’t know much past 5 or 6 thousand years. 30,000 years and beyond. Almost nothing. Who and what were these people? And, what constitutes a lively, or true “time of life” events?
Does something standing 12 feet tall, weighing 1500lbs, and that can travel 40 miles per hour entice you. How about limb crushing, vice like teeth designed for shearing? Would you be afraid?
The Fastest Running Bear That Ever Lived In quaternary North America, the late pleistocene represents the peak of ursid diversity. The giant short-faced bear (arctodus simus), or ‘bulldog bear’ was very different than what we have today. Its extended legs and toes directed straight forward compared to today’s bears. They allowed it to travel, larger, faster and with crushing dimensions.
Where was it located? The bulldog, or giant short faced bear, was mostly located west of Mississippi; up, down and around the Rocky Mountains. It was also known in other areas across the continent, including Mexico and Alaska. However, around 11 or 12 thousand years ago, something strange happened. Climate change, loss of diet habitat; combinations of other late pleistocene factors; including possibly the competition with humans and herbivores, extinct the giant short faced bear.
Domination: food, and origin(s)
The giant short faced bears scientific name arctodus, actually came from Greek, and means “bear tooth”. Eating up to an estimated 30-40lb every day, it was once the most common bear in North America. Its fossils were discovered, in northern California, at the potter creek cave in late 1800. A long time since the late pleistocene, we had only recently been discovering about its dominative force.
Bear enticement nowadays comes in the forms of black, brown, grizzly and polar. Thoughtfully 10,000 years ago, during neolithic times, the arctodus simius, or ‘bulldog bear’, setted president for fear factor, and fear fighting for survival.
It is said the white quartz stones on the side, and skylights or the ‘roof box’ at Newgrange reflected light. Newgrange (Irish: Sí an Bhrú) is a 1.1 acre prehistoric monument in County Meath in Ireland, located on a rise overlooking the River Boyne. It was built around 3200 BC. The main monument in the Brú na Bóinne is up to 12 meters or 39ft high, an incredible accomplishment for this time. An estimated 200,000 tonnes of material was used there to build it, including multiple layers of earth and stone, in the grass roof. Its composition of other smaller henges, burial mounds and standing stones make, Brú na Bóinne, Newgrange or Sí an Bhrú a world heritage site.
Neat facts: It is believed they pulled and shaped many of the white quartz from the river, and moved in position rolling logs. It probably also took decades to construct. The skylight or “roof box” above the entrance, is “proven without doubt, that it was deliberately aligned to the sunrise of the winter solstice”. During this time, it shone 60 feet down a hallway past megaliths, and megalithic art, into a barrial chamber.
The front entry way stone has also been described as one of the most important pieces of megalithic art. Triskele-like features found on it are almost three metres long and 1.2 metres high (10 ft long and 4 ft high), and its weight is about five tonnes.
Back in Neolithic times, we didn’t understand forces of nature. Most say we still don’t. One thing is for certain though, we may be able to harness its beauty for these brief and precise moments.
The Snowmastodon site, or ‘Ziegler reservoir fossil site’ brought in crews from the museum of nature & science along with construction crews. Nearing completion, in one year, 36,000 vertebrate fossils (including mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, horses, camels and deer), were discovered. Approximately 3,000 of them were mastodons. The site holds the record for the most mastodons preserved in a single location. Including the largest mastodon ever found.
By the time excavation completed, more than 300 people, from at least 19 institutions removed 8000 cubic meters of sediment. The village even announced a Mammoth music fest. With chilli, music and arts.
It was an amazing find, not just because of the location. The scientists and builders had also recovered at least 52 different late pleistocene vertebrate animals. It included a camel, horse, sloth and smaller vertebrates. In a short span of time, the speed of the project was unlike anything ever completed.
Importance: The Ziegler reservoir fossil site is unique because it is one of the only site from the sangamonian stage, at higher elevations. It also preserved multiple alpine ecosystems stacked on top. Scientists had been looking for plant bio-geography of the Rocky Mountains during the last interglacial period. Some of the beetles were still iridescent, and large logs were still preserved. They got what they needed.
Vertebrate Fauna: The 52 macro and micro vertebrate taxa represent a diverse assemblage of fauna included to the rancholabrean north American land mammal age. Smaller vertebrate species included: trout, frog, salamander, snake, lizard, duck, goose, pheasant, crane, finch, shrew, river otter, bear, coyote, rabbit, chipmunk, squirrel, beaver, mice and other small rodents. The most abundant species found was the tiger salamander.
There were 7 megafauna taxa. These taxa include: ▪ Columbian mammoth (mammuthus columbi) – Four individuals, including the first fossil recovered from the site. ▪ American mastodon (mammut americanum) – This is the largest site for mastodons in the world with at least 35 individuals present. ▪ Jefferson’s ground sloth (megalonyx jeffersonii) – This marks the first time this species has been found in Colorado. ▪ Giant bison (bison latifrons) – The Ziegler reservoir is one of only three sites to produce multiple individuals of B. latifrons and the highest known elevation for this species. ▪ Deer – At least 2 individuals of indeterminate species. ▪ Camelops – A single tooth belonging to the extinct camel genus, was found in lake-center deposits. It is also the highest known elevation for this genus. ▪ Horse – A single foot bone from an indeterminate species of Equus.
Insects: Spanning from intervals of 125,000 to 77,000 years ago. A total of 99 taxa of insect were identified from samples. These fossils included the oldest known pleistocene high elevation insect faunas from the rocky mountains. The fossil assemblages were dominated by beetles, ants, midges, and caddisflies. They were used in part, to document the climatic oscillations during the time.
Fossil Flora: 99 taxa of plant macrofossils, including seeds, leaves, needles, cones, twigs and wood were identified. Ranging in size from small stems, to logs greater than 50 cm in diameter. Species of fir, douglas fir, spruce, pine, sagebrush, spruce, pine, oak, juniper, as well as herbaceous and aquatic plants were represented. Most of the wood fossils came from the “beach” horizon at the lake margin.
Now that the site is covered with water, scientists are not concerned. Being underwater helps preserve the fossils and the reservoir can be drained if ever the need arises for additional excavations and research.