Table of Contents
ISRN Zoology
Volume 2013, Article ID 138319, 25 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/138319
Research Article

Extinctions of Late Ice Age Cave Bears as a Result of Climate/Habitat Change and Large Carnivore Lion/Hyena/Wolf Predation Stress in Europe

Paleologic, Private Research Institute, Petra Bezruce 96, CZ-26751 Zdice, Czech Republic

Received 16 September 2012; Accepted 5 October 2012

Academic Editors: L. Kaczmarek and C.-F. Weng

Copyright © 2013 Cajus G. Diedrich. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Predation onto cave bears (especially cubs) took place mainly by lion Panthera leo spelaea (Goldfuss), as nocturnal hunters deep in the dark caves in hibernation areas. Several cave bear vertebral columns in Sophie’s Cave have large carnivore bite damages. Different cave bear bones are chewed or punctured. Those lets reconstruct carcass decomposition and feeding technique caused only/mainly by Ice Age spotted hyenas Crocuta crocuta spelaea, which are the only of all three predators that crushed finally the long bones. Both large top predators left large tooth puncture marks on the inner side of cave bear vertebral columns, presumably a result of feeding first on their intestines/inner organs. Cave bear hibernation areas, also demonstrated in the Sophie’s Cave, were far from the cave entrances, carefully chosen for protection against the large predators. The predation stress must have increased on the last and larger cave bear populations of U. ingressus (extinct around 25.500 BP) in the mountains as result of disappearing other seasonally in valleys migrating mammoth steppe fauna due to climate change and maximum glacier extensions around 22.000 BP.