Shuanghe Cave, previously Asia’s longest cave in southwest China’s Guizhou Province, is 409.9 km long and 912 meters deep, making it the third longest cave in the world, according to a expedition led by the provincial mountain resources institute, the provincial cave association and more than 30 researchers and explorers from China, France, Italy and Belgium.
The expedition team also discovered some paleontological fossils and geological relics. Researchers have so far found 40 giant panda fossils, with the oldest individual living at least 100,000 years ago and the youngest living just a few hundred years ago.
The fossils could help provide a rare sample for researchers to understand the history of population genetic evolution and the evolution of individual size of giant pandas in the late Pleistocene, said He Wei, team leader and head of the provincial mountain resources institute.
Previously, the cave was surveyed at 257.4 km long and 665 meters deep, based on an international scientific investigation carried out before 2019.
As the longest dolomite cave with the largest celestine area in the world, Shuanghe Cave has been called a “karst natural cave museum”. Since 1988, international researchers and explorers have conducted 22 scientific investigations in the cave.