Brett French reports: Cave exploration aided by pack rats
By angelamontana

Posted: July 22, 2021

Just across the Montana border in Wyoming, at the base of the Bighorn Mountains, is a unique feature known as Natural Trap Cave. Located on BLM land, the cave is a storehouse for fossils dating back 30,000 years to the end of the last ice age. Scientists are exploring the cave for two weeks this summer, rappelling into the cavern to look for clues to how animals survived – or didn’t survive – the last big change in climate. That information could help us understand changes that could be on the horizon for us modern folk. This research is being aided by pack rats, which collect bones and bring them into their nests in the cave. Over the years, those items have fallen into the cave and been buried by soil, allowing scientists to identify their age. To learn more about this unique exploration, check out my story at

(written by Brett French | Outdoors Editor for Billings Gazette)
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