Large Mammal Fauna from the Pleistocene Deposits of Chagyrskaya Cave Northwestern Altai (based on 2007–2011 Excavations)
The article focuses on the results of analysis of more than 100 thousand animal fossils recovered from Chagyrskaya Cave in 2007–2011. Animal remains from strata 5 and 6a result mostly from the hunting activity of wolves and cave hyenas, which used the cave as a shelter or den for breeding their offspring. In contrast, fauna remains from strata 6b and 6c at the cave's entrance zone primarily accumulated due to the hunting activities of Paleolithic humans, who mostly hunted bison (Bison priscus). To a lesser extent, they also hunted the Ovodov horse (Equus (Sussemionus) ovodovi), reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), Siberian mountain goat (Capra sibirica), and argali (Ovis ammon). Animal bones representing common taxa point to the existence of steppe landscapes during the formation of stratum 6. The sediment deposition of stratum 5 supposedly proceeded under arid climatic conditions. However, small forested areas existed in river valleys and mountain gorges throughout the entire sedimentation period.