As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday 10 July 2013

‘50,000-year-old cave dwelling birds still exist’

KUCHING: Similar or identical species of cave-dwelling birds and bats in the Great Cave of Niah 50,000 years ago still exist today, revealed archeologist Dr Christopher M Stimpson yesterday.

Stimpson, who had completed his PhD research on bird and bat bones recovered from the Niah Cave under the University of Cambridge, said there was evidence of large population of bats and swiftlets for such a long time.

“The cave’s ecosystem which has been described in this part of the world is not a recent phenomenon for it is quite ancient ecosystem as well,” he added.

“The bats and swiftlets are primary contributors to the cave ecology,” he said in his public awareness talk on ‘Paleozoological Perspectives on Biological Conservation in Niah National Park: Evidence from the Great Cave’ held at the Sarawak Biodiversity Centre in Jalan Puncak Borneo here.

The talk discussed results from an analysis of bird (Aves) and bat (Mamalia: Chiroptera) bones that were recovered during archeological excavations of the Niah Cave in archeological sequences dating from 50,000 years to 350 years before the present time.

Continuing on, he said the birds will go out and catch insects, return to the cave and deposit the energy into the cave environment in the form of guano.

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