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French Volunteers See Sunlight for First Time in 40 Days after Isolating Inside a Cave

After 40 days in a cave

After 40 days in a cave

The project called Deep Time, led by the Human Adaption Institute costing 1.4 million dollars, was set forth to examine the limits of human adaptability to isolate.

Can anyone imagine a day without a clock, mobile phones, or sunlight and that too living in a cave? A team of 15 French volunteers havesucceeded in this feat and find the experience was ‘great’. Fifteen volunteers – eight men and seven women –spent 40 days in the Lombrives cave in southwest France as part of a human isolation experiment, as per a report in Business Insider.

The project called Deep Time, led by the Human Adaption Institute costing 1.4 million dollars, was set forth to examine the limits of human adaptability to isolate. The project ended on Saturday with the group emerging out of the cave wearing special glasses to protect their eyes from the sunlight.

The project was monitored by French and Swiss scientists at the Human Adaption Institute. They closely observed each volunteer during their time in the cave. The group was sent to the cave with no basic amenities ranging from light, clock, water and more. In order to facilitate the entire project, volunteers’ brain activity was collected before and after entering the cave. The idea behind the experiment was to judge how people can adapt to extreme living conditions and being in complete isolation.

Researchers observed that as the group had no clocks, they quickly lost their sense of time and adjusted their activities such as eating, sleeping and other daily tasks as per their body clock.

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They lived in tents and produced electricity using a pedal bike to fulfill the need for natural light. They even drew water from a well 146 ft below the Earth.

Talking about the experience, the project director Christian Clotwho was also part of the team of volunteers said that the entire experience was a ‘real surprise’, while one of the volunteers said he had “visceral urges" to leave the cave.

Although some thought that they had been underground, others wanted to live longer in the cave as “For once in our lives, we had time and could stop to live and do our tasks. It was great,” told one of the women volunteers to The Guardian.

Keeping a regular check on volunteers’sleeping patterns, social interactionsand cognitive functions via sensors, the project has determined that “Our future as humans on this planet will evolve” as “our brains are capable of finding new solutions, whatever the situation."

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first published:April 30, 2021, 18:11 IST