50K-Year-Old Skeleton Found Inside Cave In S. Ind.

By Emma Koch - 21Alive

Credit: RTV6

50K-Year-Old Skeleton Found Inside Cave In S. Ind.

August 15, 2013 Updated Aug 15, 2013 at 4:44 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (21Alive) - Researchers say they've found a nearly complete skeleton of a 50,000-year-old pig-like mammal inside a cave in southern Indiana's Crawford County.

Indiana State Museum crews have been digging in the cave for more than 25 years and found the skeleton this week.

Museum vice president Tina Sullivan said it is the most complete skeleton its researchers have found there.

The museum isn't saying exactly where the excavation site is in the county bordering the Ohio River that's dotted with numerous caves

The skeleton found is that of a flat-headed peccary -- a medium-sized animal that resembles a pig.

Research curator Ron Richards says the findings included two back legs with their knee caps, a backbone, a head, ribs, hips and the digits of the feet.

"For more than 25 years, we have unearthed a mixture of flat-headed peccary and dire wolf remains from this cave, but nothing this complete," Richards said in a news release. "Every summer, we spend two weeks at this site digging several feet below the surface of the clay, hoping to find something like this."

The Indiana State Museum said the remains come from the late Pleistocene period, which spans from 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago. Large land mammals, such as the mammoth and mastodon, also lived during that period.

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