Was the European cave bear an occasional scavenger?


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Publication Date

January 2012


The cave bear Ursus spelaeus fossils remains are quite abundant in the Late Pleistocene site of Coro Tracito (Huesca, Spain). The site constitutes the highest mountain record of cave bears in the Iberian Peninsula. Being a monospecific locality, it permits the study of the biology and dietary habits of this species. The study of the limb bones established first, the mortality pattern of this population of Ursus spelaeus and, second, the alteration pattern due to carnivore tooth‐marks. Some authors have performed similar analyses in the same kind of skeletal elements in other cave bear localities all over Europe and, therefore it has been possible to compare our results with those from other sites. The tooth‐marks found in the bones of cave bears, especially in monospecific sites, have been attributed to a scavenging behaviour. In agreement with the authors, our analysis presented here supports the hypothesis of scavenging behaviour for cave bears. □Behaviour, Late Pleistocene, Spain, taphonomy, tooth‐marks, Ursus spelaeus.

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LETHAIA, Vol. 45, no. 1 (2012).