Technologies

Spider robot will search for skeletons inside ancient caves in Australia

In Australia there areNarakorte Caves is a national park with many ancient animal fossils inside. At the moment, scientists know about the existence of 26 caves, but there may be hidden tunnels between them. Most likely, inside them lie the remains of animals that scientists have not yet had a chance to study. To find the hidden passages, Australian students launched the CaveX project, which developed 15 research robots. Among them, they chose the mechanism that is best suited for exploring the cave - a robot in the form of a spider with six limbs. It is believed that such a design will allow it not to damage the surface of the historically important site. The robot will be equipped with equipment to create a 3D map of the cave, but what exactly can it find inside?

Australian spider robot developed by the CaveX project

What are the Narakort Caves?

Caves of interest to scientists are nearbyfrom the Australian city of Naracourt. It is believed that they were discovered in 1845 - researchers studied this place for a long time and found many fossils of ancient animals. In December 1994, the Narakorte Caves were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. At the moment, paleontologists have thoroughly surveyed an area of ​​6 square kilometers and found 26 caves. The total area of ​​these formations is 3.05 square kilometers.

Entrance to one of the Narakorte caves

Interesting fact: Narakort caves are among the world's tenthe most important fossil sites. The same list includes the Riversley Nature Reserve, which covers an area of ​​100 square kilometers and contains the fossil remains of a variety of mammals, reptiles and birds.

Excavation at Riversley Conservation Area

Ancient animals of Australia

Inside the caves, well-preservedremains of ancient animals. Scientists are especially interested in the bones of representatives of the Australian megafauna. This is the name of large animals weighing more than 45 kilograms, which completely died out in the period from 55 to 36 thousand years ago. For the most part, these creatures were known to science only thanks to the rock paintings of the indigenous people of Australia. Thanks to the Narakorte caves, scientists were able to study them using the example of the remains.

Representatives of the Australian megafauna lived simultaneously with the primitive aborigines of Australia

For example, in the Narakurt Caves Museum there isskeleton of a marsupial lion. This animal was the largest predator of its time - they lived simultaneously with the first aborigines of Australia and became extinct about 45 thousand years ago. Their body length could reach 1.5 meters, and their body weight was about 110 kilograms. These creatures had a very strong physique with well-developed muscles. Most likely, like jaguars, they ambushed their victims. But there is also speculation that they were scavengers. Marsupial lions were hardly capable of running fast, because the structure of their skeleton simply could not allow them to do so.

Marsupial lion skeleton

The marsupial lion as seen by the artist

See also: The largest animals that lived in Australia thousands of years ago

Exploring the caves of Australia

According to Engadget, for studyIn the Naracourt Caves, Australian students have developed a robot in the form of a spider with six legs. The engineers discarded the structures with wheels and tracks, because they can easily damage the surface of the caves. But the design of the spider not only ensures the safety of the caves and the fossils lying inside, but also allows the robot to wade into the most inaccessible places.

Spider robot created by the CaveX project

At the moment, the created robot is justpart of the student project CaveX. But it is planned to be equipped with electronics to 3D scan the environment to create a 3D map of the cave. In the future, they want to equip the robot with artificial intelligence so that it is more likely to find secret passages. Perhaps in the depths of the caves lie the remains of animals still unknown to science. Such creatures can really exist, because relatively recently, scientists discovered the murkupina (Mukupirna nambensis), which lived in Australia several thousand years ago, but has already become extinct. You can read more about it in this article.

Australian murkupina that lived tens of thousands of years ago

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Many Australian animals no longer exist.They became extinct due to climate change and hunting by ancient people. It is noteworthy that people continue to kill animals, only in some cases it is done for the good - I recently told why the Australian authorities want to shoot 10,000 wild horses. Here's a link.