By Richard Kemeny/SmithsonianMag.com
Deep in the forests of northwestern Jamaica, a secluded cave has sheltered an unabridged account of the environment since the early Bronze Age. The cave’s inhabitants live in near-total darkness, swarming out to feed at night through a mist of their own urine and retreating back inside to roost. The colony of five thousand or so bats then add to the archived climate record much as their ancestors did before them: by swooping down from the walls and defecating on the cave floor.
“People might think of guano as just a big pile of crap,” says Jules Blais, an environmental toxicologist from the University of Ottawa. But buried in that pile are the secrets of the past.
Guano, a sticky brown paste and a staple in many tropical caves, is a festering compilation of a colony’s droppings, remnants of nearby plants, fruits and insects, as well as the odd fallen bat. Guano piles can reveal exactly what the bats were eating as well as details about the environment the bats were exposed to. Conditions in the soil, water and atmosphere are consumed, processed and left—via the bats’ digestive system—in accumulating layers on the floor, like pages in an …..
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with her husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescues.