A population study on the cave bear (Ursus spelaeusRos.-Hein.)) from Cova Eirós (Triacastela, Galicia, Spain)Etude de populations sur l'ours des cavernes (Ursus spelaeus008 Ros.-Hein)) de Cova Eirós (Triacastela, Galice, Espagne)


Link to Full Text

Download Full Text

Publication Date

January 1997


The Cova Eiros site is at present the most western euroasiatic limit of the distribution of this species. To date, close to 4,000 bones, mainly Ursus spelaeus,, have been found. Absolute dating (U/Th) carried out on the stalagmaitic flows below the fertile levels give an age between 117,000 and 28,000 years BP 14CC, whilst dating of a bone has given an age of 24,090 years BP. The taphonomic study discounts the existence of post mortem selective processes in the formation of the deposit. The population study indicates occupation of the site by bears of both sexes, being used during hibernation by both adult males and adult females, pregnant and/or with cubs. Distribution by age of the population has been possible by carrying out a study on the wear stages of the cheek teeth. The distribution by age shows a low mortality rate for adult bears (7%) whilst the mortality rate for neonates and yearlings was high (73%). The disappearence of this population can therefore be attributed to the aforementioned high mortality rate aswell as the isolation of the population during the development of glaciers during the last glacial period.


Ursus Spelaeus, Upper Pleistocene, Cova Eirós, Spain, Population Study

Document Type



Geobios, Vol. 30, no. 5 (1997).