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Cave Dig for Ice Age Animals

Despite visiting museums my entire life with my parents and now my own family, I am always still amazed at what goes on behind the scenes.  How many people understand that the Indiana State Museum is doing ongoing research, adding to the collections each year? 

The museum is just finishing up a 17-day dig for Ice Age animals inside of a cave in southern Indiana.  Incredibly, this is the 23rd year of the dig, in this same hidden limestone cave!  Over all those years, museum paleontologists and volunteers have been slowly and methodically digging out bucketful after bucketful of cave dirt and rocks, screening them for specimens, then sending them back to the museum labs for further investigation. More than 200 different species of animals have been found there, including many flat-headed peccaries, which are pig-like animals with large tusks. They lived about 30,000 years ago and often sought shelter inside caves.

Being part of the cave dig this year was an adventure like few others in my lifetime!  Despite chiggers, ticks, heat and humidity and even a venomous copperhead snake, I was thrilled to partake in this rare opportunity.  It was a challenge for me, as I wasn't sure how I'd react crawling through tiny spaces in hard limestone, but being part of an experienced group certainly made it seem easy. 

Working at a museum for science and culture...who knows what adventure is next?

See video of the dig here.


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