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FossilsOfKenya

Fossil Found in the Ceiling of a Cave. How Do I Dig It Out Safely?

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FossilsOfKenya

I recently went hiking in the mountains of Kapchorwa District, Uganda. I went inside a cave and found what could be the leg bone of an animal in the ceiling of the cave, about 2-3.5 metres above the cave floor. I'm not currently sure what animal it is but I have a feeling it's a hippo's leg bone or the leg bone of a genus of proboscid such as Palaeoloxodon, Loxodonta, Deinotherium, Gomphotherium or Anancus.

I want to dig it out, but I'm wondering how I can do it safely. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

 

Sincerely,

FossilsOfKenya

 

PS: Sorry for the poor quality of the image. I only had my phone when I found it so I had to digitally enhance it.

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Edited by FossilsOfKenya

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Ludwigia

The photo is unfortunately so much out of focus, that I can't make out any details which would tell me that it's a bone. But if it is, maybe if you don't know how to dig it out yourself, then you should report your find to a paleontologist from the region. There might be more things of scientific interest in there and you don't want to spoil anything, do you?

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JohnBrewer

I agree with Roger.  

 

I wouldn't try and remove it, get people who know what they're doing. Life is too short and that looks a very dangerous situation. You'll read all over the forum don't hammer cliffs let alone cave roofs...

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Fossildude19

Welcome to the Forum. :)

 

I tried to enhance the photos, without much luck. :( 

 

 

20170526_210751.thumb.jpg.f9eaf36497ecc4477ae502786e71fe67.jpg

 

 

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I really am not seeing anything that looks like bones here. 


Looks more like weathered limestone, to me. :unsure:

 

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Jeffrey P

I have a friend who is a fossil collector and a cave explorer and he tells me that cave explorers have a strict rule and that is to leave the cave in as pristine condition as possible. That means defacing any surfaces or removing any objects is strictly forbidden. He's told me about fossils he's seen in caves that he's left untouched because of this rule.

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jpc
2 hours ago, Jeffrey P said:

I have a friend who is a fossil collector and a cave explorer and he tells me that cave explorers have a strict rule and that is to leave the cave in as pristine condition as possible. That means defacing any surfaces or removing any objects is strictly forbidden. He's told me about fossils he's seen in caves that he's left untouched because of this rule.

Yes.  

Leave it in there and let someone know who could deal with it properly.  The National Museum in Kenya is well staffed.  

Additionally, I also do not see a bone here.  

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Taogan

Caves are no place for an amateur to extract anything, they will be digging your fossilized bones out in a couple of million years if you try it 

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Kane

I agree with what everyone else said. It isn't worth the risk. Perhaps you might consider returning to the cave with a good flashlight and camera with a good zoom function as collecting photos rather than attempt to collect something out of a cave ceiling would be a good (and much safer!) consolation prize. ;)

 

And with that setup, you might be able to explore that cave a bit further, too.

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steelhead9

I actually do see what looks to be a leg bone. I have to agree with other forum members though that this should be brought to the attention of professionals as this could be a find of some scientific importance and should be studied in situ. Congratulations on your discovery. Who knows, you may have a new species named after you!

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FossilsOfKenya

Thanks everyone for the tips. I will try and get professional help in digging out the fossil or perhaps just let it be and explore the cave a bit more. I will also try and take a better picture of it for those that are interested in seeing it. And thanks again to everyone for the advice :)

 

Sincerely,

Fossils of Kenya

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Scylla

The way I would collect it is with pictures. But some people I know would use latex to create a mold. You paint several layers of latex mold material over the surface, let dry, then peel it off. Once you get it home you can then make a cast that is a decent copy of the cave roof using your latex mold.

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Ludwigia
On 27.5.2017 at 2:55 PM, FossilsOfKenya said:

Thanks everyone for the tips. I will try and get professional help in digging out the fossil or perhaps just let it be and explore the cave a bit more. I will also try and take a better picture of it for those that are interested in seeing it. And thanks again to everyone for the advice :)

 

Sincerely,

Fossils of Kenya

 

You're welcome. You have made the right decision in our opinion. Better photos would certainly be of interest, particularly if you have decided to report your find.

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jpc
On May 28, 2017 at 6:34 AM, Scylla said:

The way I would collect it is with pictures. But some people I know would use latex to create a mold. You paint several layers of latex mold material over the surface, let dry, then peel it off. Once you get it home you can then make a cast that is a decent copy of the cave roof using your latex mold.

This may also be strongly frowned upon in the caving community.  Alas, I wonder how easy it would be to find latex in Kenya.

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Plax

fossils, including those of human ancestors,  are routinely collected from caves by professionals. As a former caver am aware of the cave rules of course. Am guessing it depends on the significance of the fossil in determining if it should be removed. The Port Kennedy Cave in Valley forge PA for instance was mined for it's Pleistocene vertebrate fossils.

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