As soon as you walk into Indiana Caverns you are literally walking back in time tens of thousands of years.
Thousands and thousands of bones from creatures that have been extinct for more than 40,000 years have been found there.
Indiana Caverns is now listed as the 9th largest cave system in the country, stretching a little more than 38 miles.
CORYDON, IN (WAVE) - Southern Indiana is full of beautiful landscapes. Rolling hills, farm fields and gorgeous old barns are just a few of the treats to the eye. But right now the real story out of Corydon, Indiana is underground. Recent finds at Indiana Caverns have captured the attention of scientists all over the country: bones from creatures that haven't walked Earth since the Ice Age!
As soon as you walk into Indiana Caverns you are literally walking back in time tens of thousands of years. What explorers recently found there can only compare to a time capsule left undisturbed since the Ice Age.
Rob Houchens, an Indiana Caverns partner, is excited about what has been found. "I think it's so unique," Houchens said. "In fact, one of the paleontologists said this may end up being the most significant bone find in Indiana state history and possibly in the midwest."
Thousands and thousands of bones from creatures that have been extinct for more than 40,000 years have been found.
"In the cave, we've found lots and lots of different bones," Houchens said. "We've found everything from a peccary, an extinct animal, to passenger pigeons to porcupines to snakes. We've just had a variety so far, and we've just scratched the surface on what we've started doing to find the bones in the cave."
Many of the Ice Age bones were found right on the surface of the cave, in the very spot the animal died thousands of years before. Along the public tour route, you can see the remains of an Ice Age bear, still lying in what used to be its den.
"What's really cool about this," Houchens said, "is there's a lot of great caves out there with a lot of great attributes to them. But to go into this cave and not only see the physical fossils but also see some of the trace fossils, like where some of the paw prints have been, where something's been on the wall, or see the Peccary tracks where they ran up the hill, is a truly unique experience."
On our tour, we took a boat ride deep into the underground. We saw formations and bones that have been trapped since the glaciers sealed off the caverns thousands of years ago. If you're lucky, you might be able to spot of the few visible living creatures still making Indiana Caverns their home. Blind crayfish are hard to spot as they're almost transparent due to no natural light in the cave. But these small creatures, which look like regular crayfish, can actually live to be more than 100 years old.
Indiana Caverns is now listed as the 9th largest cave system in the country, stretching a little more than 38 miles. Right now, less than one mile of that is open to the public with more explorations continuing to discover even more cave.
The Ice Age bones that have been discovered so far represent about one-percent of what Indiana Caverns' partners believe are there. Excavations are planned to continue to see just how much more of our lost history can still be found in Corydon's Indiana Caverns.
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