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A cave lion (Panthera spelaea) skeleton from Torca del León (NW Iberia): Micromammals indicate a temperate and forest environment corresponding to GI-11 (MIS 3)

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Álvarez-Lao, Diego J. and Álvarez-Vena, Adrián and Ballesteros, Daniel and García García, Nuria (2020) A cave lion (Panthera spelaea) skeleton from Torca del León (NW Iberia): Micromammals indicate a temperate and forest environment corresponding to GI-11 (MIS 3). Quaternary Science Reviews, 229 (106123). ISSN 0277-3791, ESSN: 1873-457X

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Official URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379119306420


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Abstract

The Torca del León site (Asturias, NW Spain), discovered in 2014, provided an interesting fossil assemblage including a P. spelaea partial skeleton and a rich micro-mammal community with palaeoenvironmental significance. The bone accumulation was formed in a karstic cave that acted as a natural trap, as indicated by the geomorphology of the cavity (connected to a 16 m deep shaft) and the lack of signs of human or carnivore activity on the bones.

The large-mammal assemblage is composed of carnivores, of which the most striking is the partial skeleton of the cave lion, an exceptional find for this region, which allowed a detailed comparative study. Its skull and teeth retained features of systematic relevance, which agree with its ascription to P. spelaea. Sexing of the specimen points to it possibly being from a male, whose body weight was estimated at 360 kg. Other identified large mammals in the site include P. pardus and Canis lupus.

The rich small mammal assemblage, comprising 14 taxa, allowed inferring that the environment during site formation corresponded to a mature forest developed under humid and temperate conditions, located at just 15 km from the glacial fronts of the Cantabrian Mountains. AMS dating yielded 43.0 ± 0.5 cal ka BP, coinciding with Greenland Interstadial GI-11, a warming event poorly known in NW Iberia, coeval with the onset of the regional glacial retreat occurred after the local glacial maximum of ∼45 ka. This episode is also coeval with the Middle to Upper Paleolithic transition in Northwestern Iberia.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Panthera spelaea, Late pleistocene, MIS 3GI-11, Paleontology, Paleoenvironment, Paleoclimatology, Western Europe, Small mammals
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
ID Code:58925
Deposited On:12 Feb 2020 18:33
Last Modified:13 Feb 2020 09:55

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