2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 21
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


LEHANE, James R. and OVER, D. Jeffrey, Geological Sciences, SUNY-Geneseo, Geneseo, NY 14454, jrl3@geneseo.edu

The remains of an adult male Ursus spelaeus, the Pleistocene cave bear, were collected from Ursul de Caverna (Bear Cave) in Chiscáu, Romania. Articulation and minimal fracturing of the bones indicates that the carcass was not scavenged by large predators such as hyenas. Scanning Electron Microscope analyses of the forepaw metatarsals show, however, that small canids and rodents did scavenge the carcass. Characteristic marks include piling of bone adjacent to crescent shaped grooves that range in length from 1 to 2 millimeters, and elongated canal structures that range in length from 0.2 to 0.3 millimeters, are typical of scars made by teeth of scavengers. Similar marks were produced by a small dog and mice on modern pig bones used for comparison. Two different sizes and types of marks indicate that different scavengers fed on the bear. Wolves, other small canids, and rodents could leave marks of these sizes and form which are distinctly different from those produced by human tools.