A cave is "a natural opening in the ground extending beyond the zone of light and large enough to permit the entry of man," according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Caves can range in size from single rooms to large formations with winding passageways that extend for miles. Caves typically form in types of rock, such as limestone, that dissolve in water. It can take tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years for caves to form. The study of caves is called speleology, and the exploration of caves is called spelunking. Caves are famous of their dripstone features called speleothems, the most well-known of which are stalactites and stalagmites. Many of the strange creatures found in caves have adapted to live in near or total darkness — some are blind to visible light. See cave pictures and read about the latest cave discoveries and speleological research below.
Researchers think the morbid practice originated with pagan people who settled in the region after the Romans drove out the Jews.
The discovery of a skull and shin bone fragment in a cave in Laos pushes back the earliest known date of Homo sapiens in Southeast Asia.
These "greedy" eels likely retreated into the gloomy depths of underwater caves in search of tasty crustaceans and are adapting to the darkness by going blind, one eye at a time.
Stone Age dots, lines and Y-shaped marks might represent a type of proto-writing created by hunter-gatherers who lived in Europe at least 20,000 years ago.
Construction workers in Israel unexpectedly broke into a 3,300-year-old cave that looks like an "Indiana Jones film set."
The Neanderthals and Denisovans — both relatives of modern humans — were roommates, literally, for thousands of years in a remote Siberian cave, two new studies find.
Cavers have successfully navigated Australia's deepest cave and named it the "Delta Variant" after COVID-19.
While exploring an old mine in northwestern England, a group of cavers stumbled upon 200-year-old personal items and equipment left by 19th-century cobalt miners.
A team of Chinese scientists has discovered a giant new sinkhole with a forest at its bottom.
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