Late Pleistocene hyena skeleton remains of a communal/prey depot cave den in the Bohemian Mountains (Czech Republic) – its osteology, taphonomy and palaeoecology


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January 2017


A total of 366 bones are arranged to six incomplete individual skeletons (=MNI ) of different age classes and taphonomic preservation from the Late Pleistocene Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) hyena den Srbsko Chlum–Komín Cave, Czech Republic, Bohemian Mountains (Central Europe). The hyena assemblage counts no siblings, 37% cub, 33% early adult/subadult and 30% adult/senile individuals. A senile scavenged individual demonstrates the cannibalism within the cave. About 10% of the 3569 megafauna bones are from hyenas which larger amounts are typical at communal/prey depot den sites. This site is different to three other larger natal/birth and communal or prey depot hyena den cave sites in Czech Republic. The Chlum–Komín Cave hyena prey bone assemblage (=NISP ) consists, similar as at two other Czech Republic sites, mainly of Equus ferus przewalskii (50%), including pregnant females being hunted in spring/early summer. The fewer amounts of Coelodonta antiquitatis (4%), Bison priscus (2%), Rangifer tarandus (15%), and alpine Rupicapra rupicapra (2%) or Capra ibex (1%) and the absence of mammoth correlate to hyena den bone assemblages in middle high elevated mountain regions of northern/central Europe. The rareness of cave bears in the Bohemian Mountains, on which hyenas specialized to feed additionally in European mountain regions, explains predominant predation on horses.

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Acta Zoologica, Vol. 98, no. 1 (Jan-17).