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Title: Making sense of the faunal accumulation and palaeoecology at the Toll Cave through the multidisciplinary study of cave bear remains
Authors: Ramírez-Pedraza, Iván
Andrés Eguiburu, Miriam‏
Tornero Dacasa, Carlos
Rivals, Florent
Blasco, Ruth
Rosell, Jordi
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: International Union for Quaternary Research
Citation: 20th Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA), 2019, P-2808
Abstract: The inherent characteristics of caves make them good places that records, among others, the Quaternary fauna and flora, permitting the landscapes reconstruction. The Toll Cave is part of a karstic system located 50 km to the north of Barcelona (Spain) and one of the most interesting levels belongs to Upper Pleistocene (dated ca. 49,000 years BP). In this cave, different remains of carnivores and ungulates have been recovered but more than 90% corresponds to the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus). To shed some light on these accumulations, multidisciplinary work that combines a taphonomical and dental microwear analysis is being carried out. The objective is to elucidate the origin of the faunal accumulations and the role that the interaction between carnivores and humans could have played in the cave. From a taphonomic perspective, we analyse mortality patterns, osteometry and taphonomic alterations in order to answer the questions of how the accumulation has been generated, what is the cause of the death of individuals, what is the demographic composition of the group by age and sex. Our data show that cave bear at Toll Cave died during hibernation. Additionally, a combined study of stable isotope analysis of δ13C and δ15N in bulk-collagen and dental microwear analysis was applied to provide information about the cave bear diet at different timeframes (average diet of life vs. last days/weeks before death). As the cave bear individuals found at Toll Cave died during hibernation process, tooth microwear will inform about its diet at an important seasonal event in the life of these animals. Taking this into account, microwear analysis make it possible to establish the feeding habits of the cave bear before hibernation, which is more varied than during the rest of the year. We also considered what are the post-sedimentary processes that have modified the original sample after the death of the animals.
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Type: Presentation
Appears in Collections:Congresos, encuentros científicos y estancias de investigación

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