40,000-year-old bear skeleton found in Scottish cave





The animal's remains have been brought to the surface after a 12-year operation to clear an entrance blocking where they lay.

It was found in 1995 by cave divers exploring the two mile-long stream cave Uamh an Claonaite in the network of caves at Assynt in Sutherland.

It took the cavers from the Grampian Speleological Group until the end of last year to unblock an old 100ft-deep entrance shaft and provide a dry way into the cave.

The group removed the skeleton at the end of June using cases to protect the bones as they were carried through narrow passageways to the surface.

It is thought the bear was washed into the cave at the end of the last Ice Age, making it at least 11,000 years old.

Animal remains in nearby caves date to more than 40,000 years ago, so the bear bones could be of similar age. Bears were hunted to extinction in Scotland about 1,000 years ago.



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