Kirkdale Cave is a cave located in Kirkdale near Kirkbymoorside in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, England. The cave was discovered by workmen in 1821, and was found to contain fossilized bones of a variety of mammals not currently found in Great Britain, including hippopotamus, the farthest north any such remains have ever been found, elephant, and the remains of numerous cave hyenas. William Buckland analyzed the cave and its contents in 1822. He determined that the bones were from the remains of animals brought into the cave by hyenas who had been using it for a den, and not a result of the biblical flood floating animal remains in from distant lands as had first been thought. His reconstruction of an ancient eco-system from detailed analysis of fossil evidence was admired at the time, and considered to be an example of how geohistorical research should be done.
The cave was extended from its original length of 175 metres to 436 metres by Scarborough Caving Club in 1995.
A survey was published in Descent magazine.
The fossil bones found in the cave included elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses, hyenas, bison, giant deer, smaller mammals and birds. This is the northernmost site in the world where hippopotamus remains have been found. It also included a considerable amount of fossilized hyena feces. The fossiized remains were embedded in a silty layer sandwiched between layers of stalagmite.