Upper Pleistocene Panthera leo spelaea (Goldfuss, 1810) skeleton remains from Praha-Podbaba and other lion finds from loess and river terrace sites in Central Bohemia (Czech Republic)


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Historical finds of bone remains ofPanthera leo spelaea(Goldfuss) from the Upper Pleistocene loess open air site atPraha-Podbaba (Czech Republic) are reviewed. The largely complete cranium from Central Bohemia and finds fromother sites in Czech Republic are also described. The bone proportions of the cranial and postcranial material fromPodbaba indicate them to have come from an adult male lion carcass. One foreleg and lower jaw belonged to an adult fe-male as evidenced by their much smaller proportions. A few additional bones were found at other loess pits around Prahaalong the Vltava River and at open air sites along the Berounka River close to Beroun. By undertaking a preliminaryoverview of these finds and other bones from cave sites in Central Bohemia, a first palaeobiogeographical distribution ofthese extinct carnivores can be presented. The lion remains from the open air sites, were found alongside the typical gla-cial cold-period macrofauna consisting of a fewMammuthus primigenius(Blumenbach), but mainlyCoelodontaantiquitatis(Blumenbach) bones, which were often well-chewed by Ice Age spotted hyenas. Other faunal remains werefound in the loess sites, and these appeared, in most cases, to be hyena prey depots or scavenging sites. These remains in-cludedBison priscus(Bojanus),Equus ferusBoddaert [partlyEquus przewalskii(Poljakoff)],Equus hemionus(Pallas),Rangifer tarandus(Linnaeus),Cervus elaphusLinnaeus,Capra ibex(Linnaeus) and rarelyRupricapra rupricapra(Linnaeus). The latter two animals indicate that an alpine fauna existed in Central Bohemia during the early and middleUpper Pleistocene. Some lion remains and locations described here may be of Saalian Age, during which a similar faunaexisted. The bone accumulations, including lion remains, are probably, in many cases, hyena prey deposits. Their pres-ence in caves seems to have been mainly the result of hyena and lion conflicts, and lion kills which were imported, oftenas complete carcasses, into the hyena cave dens such as the one at Srbsko Chlum-Komín. Their carcasses seemed to havevery often been imported by hyenas into their dens in loess along the Weichselian river valleys, the Vltava and BerounkaRivers. In some cases, lions may have been killed at the conflict site, and been scavenged there. The proven minimumnumber of individuals (MNI) lions for the Weichselian in Central Bohemia can be estimated from cave and open air sitesto be about 20 compared with a provable hyena MNI of more than twice this number at about 48 individuals. • Keywords:Panthera leo spelaea(Goldfuss, 1810), open air sites, Upper Pleistocene loess pits, Central Bohemia, bone taphonomy, palaeobiogeography.


Animal remains (Archaeology), Lion, Paleontology--Pleistocene, Europe, Czech Republic, Prague, Bohemia

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Europe; Czech Republic; Prague; Europe; Czech Republic; Bohemia

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Volume 82, Issue 2 20 p.