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Scientific Values

Karst landscapes offer scientific opportunities:

  • Geography/Geology – The study of cave morphology and secondary deposits, such as speleothems and sediments, provide a relatively undisturbed window into landform evolution, past environmental conditions and climate change.
  • Archaeology/Paleontology – Karst caves can be important sites for studying prehistoric living conditions because the natural environment (alkaline conditions, cool temperatures, the absence of light, difficult access) enhances preservation. Most of the known stone tools and skeletal remains of Homo neanderthalensis and early Homo sapiens are from limestone caves. The earliest known remains of humans in the Western hemisphere are found in US caves.
11,000-year-old black bear bones in a Queen Charlotte Island cave  

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