With the constant melting of the glaciers, more and more ice patches have been revealing themselves. This phenomenon is especially prevalent in The Yukon, where scientists have discovered an entire series of ice patches full of artifacts. First discovered in the 1990s, the area has become so popular with researchers that they created a name for the study: ice patch archaeology.
Also known as “The Yukon Ice Patch Project,” so many scientists have gotten involved in it that it is still going on today. Teams of archaeologists get together and fly into the area, staying for days to months at a time to search for anything interesting trapped under the ice. Others exist in areas of Alaska, Colorado, Norway, and British Columbia.
The Sabretooth Tiger
The two Sabre Tooth tigers discovered by scientists in Siberia were only cubs – so they were about the size of a modern-day tiger. And, if you’re unfamiliar with why these big cats are named as such, it’s because of their two large front teeth that are shaped like curved swords.
Sabretooth tigers, whose scientific name is the “Smilodon,” existed in multiple parts of the world up until about 10,000 years ago. The big cats could even be found in North and South America. Scientists are not entirely sure why this species went extinct, although some speculate that it had to do with their reliance on eating large herbivores coupled with climate changes.
Don't let the minimalism of this image fool you. Spears were invented by our ancestors some 300-400,000 years ago. Scientists believe that the first spears to exist were wooden and created to assist the first humans in hunting and fighting. Metal spears, however, were not invented until much later.
A spear that was found in 2007 is estimated to be over 10,000 years old. The spear was fairly small, which scientists believe means that it was used for throwing purposes rather than close-range combat. These types of weapons were used by tribes all over the world in the prehistoric age.
More Caribou Poo
Caribou, which are also known as reindeer, if you didn’t know, are a common theme in these ice-patch archaeological discoveries. But as odd and, well, gross as it might seem, reindeer feces can actually tell scientists a lot about history. Through extensive testing on the droppings, we can find out a lot about the animals that walked the Earth before our time – what they ate, where they lived, and what their daily activities were.
In fact, not only can animal droppings reveal the dietary choices of animals. Scientists have recently discovered how to test for certain types of hormone levels to determine whether or not the creatures lived stressful life.
You'd think that with global warming unearthing all of these fantastic ancient artifacts, all of the available archaeologists would be out there digging around. Unfortunately, most of these areas are located deep within mountainous areas with extremely rugged terrain – making them very difficult to navigate.
One archaeologist named Tom Andrews made it his life’s mission to explore these ice patches. So, he started raising the necessary money it was going to take him to make his dreams a reality. Finally, in 2000, he had the funds he needed and embarked on a journey to the southern Yukon via helicopter. What he found made all of the money spent worth it – a 340-year-old bow made of willow bark.