Inside cave with piles of animal and human bones after hyenas feasted on corpses

Thousands of human and animal bones have been discovered inside an ancient cave.

The morbid discovery was made in the Umm Jirsan system, a series of lava tubes under the volcanic field of Harrat Khaybar in Saudi Arabia.

Researchers came across bones belonging to animals including cattle, horses, camels and rodents.

Three human skulls were also dug up.

A team of scientists believe the remains were carried there by hyenas over the past 7,000 years.

Study author Dr Mathew Stewart, from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, tweeted: "This lava tube is chock-a-block with hundreds of thousands of beautifully preserved animal remains.”

The tube was first discovered in 2007, but scientists refused to enter after hearing growling noises coming from inside.

Researchers from the Saudi Geological Survey, King Saud University, and the German Max Planck Institute later entered the cave.

In one section dubbed the Wolf Den, the team uncovered 1,917 bones and teeth – some of which were nearly 7,000 years old.

Part of the study reads: “42% of bone has evidence for carnivore processing, which includes gnaw marks, gastric etching, and rounding from licking.

“Gnaw marks take the form of tooth pits.”

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The team analysed the location and frequency of cuts on the bones to determine how they were brought to the caves.

Dr Stewart added: “By studying the types of bone surface modifications, their frequencies, & locations, we conclude that the bones at Umm Jirsan were brought in by striped hyena.

“These critters are avid collectors of bones, which they transport to dens to be consumed, fed to young, or cached.”

The study was published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences.

In May, a mass grave with the remains of 215 abducted children was found on the grounds of an old residential school in Canada.

The Tk'emlups te Secwepemc First Nation, an indigenous group, used a radar to detect the remains on the property in British Columbia.

The Kamloops Indian residential school was established in 1890, and founded by the Roman Catholic church to encourage indigenous children to integrate into Canadian society.

The group's chief Rosanne Casimir said the community suspected there was a burial site at the school for a long time.

Some of the remains were of children as young as three years old.

They were taken from their families and sent to schools where they were forbidden to practice their native culture or speak their native language.

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