Audioburst Search

Why Is There a Rhino-Shaped Cave in Washington State?

|

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

And we're back at the ron burgundy podcast season do baby pressure team what we'd do. I brush my teeth. Whenever what else does on holidays in sometimes i forget i'm not perfect smile of your breath being the smell of rare steak and aged whiskey ski no carolina that doesn't bother me listen to the ron burgundy podcast on apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever so you find your podcasts welcome to brainstorm production of iheartradio pay rain stuff lauren the vocal von here here. Not all fossils are bones or shells or tc. Most of us would agree that mammoth tusks and stegosaurus spikes are pretty darn cool and yet the fossil record is not limited to old body parts fossil's are defined as any naturally preserved remains or traces of life forms that existed in in the geologic past and that covers a lot of ground and that's sort of a pun because the fossils can take the form of a footprint leave impression or filled tunnel left behind by prehistoric land beavers. One of the strangest fossils ever discovered is actually a cave about fifteen million years ago in what's now eastern in washington state of okina fissure eruptions and lava streaming into a shallow river lake where rhino happened to be wallowing a layer of basaltic rock formed formed around the beast preserving the outline of its well cooked body long after the flesh rotted away leaving only a few bones for millions of years this rhino shaped hole in the earth lay hidden in the cliffs washington's grant county near blue lake a popular hiking destination by the nineteen thirties erosion had worn cornhole into one end of subterranean creature mold exposed to open air. Here's the story of how the blue lake rhino cave came to be and how four for seattle rock hounds accidentally discovered it only five species. The frano are alive. Today and none of living five species are indigenous to north or south america america however from about forty to seventy million years ago rhinos common in north america somewhere hippo like semi aquatic animals others had wicked tusks instead of the nasal horns we see in their modern day counterparts paleontologists think the blue lake cave likely formed around the corpse of a die sarah theory him mm-hmm while female dies. There were horn lewis. Each adult male had a pair of small horns sitting side by side near the tip of his snout. The dimensions of the blue lake cave tell us that the dice area mm-hmm left behind was about eight feet. That's two point four meters long from snout career and still a little bit less than four feet. That's one point two meters eaters tall at the shoulder in life. The animal probably weighed about a ton or so. Nobody knows if the creature had already died when it became entombed however <unk> judging by the contours of the mold it seems the body was rather bloated. This could indicate the decomposition was already setting in also the legs are pointed skyward telling telling us the rhino may have been floating on its back in the state of rigor mortis. The caves walls are made of fifteen million year old pillow assault a kind of ignatius rock that normally forums when lava contacts cold water and rapidly cools down so dead or alive the dice earth area must have been hanging out in a body of water during a volcanic eruption option then the lava came pouring in. Maybe it got knocked over anyway. Lava can hit temperatures of more than one thousand six hundred degrees fahrenheit. That's nine hundred degrees celsius. Ordinarily this ultra hot material would have burned right through the beasts skin flesh and bone but instead the cold water converted the molten rock into a tightly packed layer of hardening pillow assault the corpse eventually rotted away and even most of its bones disappeared yet the mole that enveloped the bodies stayed largely intact a- largely but not entirely a when you think about it the fact that we even know this weird little cave exists is pretty amazing thing millions of years after the thing formed flowing water carved an opening in the mold right about where the rhinos hindquarters used to be a yet erosion hasn't strayed completely today. The case entrance is big enough for an adult person to enter but getting inside may prove difficult for some visitors you see the blue lake. Bryan cave is located in the face of a cliff about three hundred feet or ninety one meters above the lake shares its name during the summer of nineteen thirty five to adventures couples calls from seattle were hiking around the cliff in search of petrified wood on their trip. The court happened to discover the cave. They had the honor of becoming the first people in recorded history enter enter the prehistoric rhino mold inside. They noticed a handful of fragmentary animal bone fossils including partial jaw. These were sent to paleobotanist the george f beck of central washington university who couldn't resist visiting the site for himself upon gathering more bones listed california institute of technology paleontologist chester mr stock to identify them stock determined that the bony bits came from an extinct rhino soon scientific community realized that the cave itself was a full body cast of that that very same animal abuse to last drew breath fifteen million years ago in nineteen forty eight a team from the university of california at berkeley heroically scaled the cliff and filled the cave with plaster creating three-dimensional duplicate of the interior also an exact hollow replica of the cave was put on display at seattle's burke museum where it still stands today. Today's episode driven by marc mancini produced by tyler clang. Brainstorm is a production of iheartradio's. How stuff works for more on this and lots of other well preserved topics visit our home planet host dot com and from our podcast iheartradio visit the iheartradio app apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows and we're back at the ron burgundy podcast season do baby. Maybe wendy pressure team what we'd do. I brush my teeth when everyone else does on holidays in sometimes i forget i'm not perfect. This is smell of your breath father. Being the smell of rare steak aged whiskey no carolina that doesn't bother me. Listen to the ron burgundy podcast on apple podcasts or on the iheartradio app or wherever you find your podcasts.

Coming up next