Archaeology / Cultural Heritage

[Archaeology] [twocolumns]

Anthropology / Human Evolution

[Anthropology] [twocolumns]

Palaeontology / Earth Sciences

[Palaeontology] [twocolumns]

Evolution / Genetics

[Evolution][twocolumns]

Cave lion exploitation by ancient humans might have contributed to their extinction


Upper Palaeolithic humans may have hunted cave lions for their pelts, perhaps contributing to their extinction, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Marián Cueto from the Universidad de Cantabria, Spain, and colleagues.

Cave lion exploitation by ancient humans might have contributed to their extinction
Structures of the Zone IV from the Lower Gallery of La Garma 
[Credit: Pedro Saura]
The Eurasian cave lion, likely among the largest lion species ever to have lived, became extinct around 14,000 years ago, but the reasons for its disappearance are not clear. Upper Palaeolithic humans were previously known to have hunted other small and large carnivores, but archaeological evidence of lion hunting is sparse. To help fill in this gap, Cueto and colleagues examined nine fossilized cave lion toe bones from the Upper Palaeolithic cave site of La Garma, in northern Spain, for evidence of cave lion exploitation by humans.

Cave lion exploitation by ancient humans might have contributed to their extinction
Cave lion distal phalanxes from the Lower Gallery of La Garma 
[Credit: Marián Cueto et al. PLOS]
The researchers found that most bones showed signs of having been modified by humans using stone tools, with a specialized technique similar to that used by modern hunters when skinning prey to keep the claws attached to the fur. The authors suggest that the toe bones they analysed may therefore have been part of a single lion pelt, which possibly lay on the floor of the occupied cave. La Garma is known to have been associated with human rituals, and cave lions may have been symbolic animals for Upper Palaeolithic humans.


While the analysis is not definitive evidence that Upper Palaeolithic humans exploited cave lions for their pelts, the authors speculate that human hunting of cave lions, perhaps as part of ritual activities, might have been a factor in cave lion extinction.

Source: PLOS [October 26, 2016]
TANN

Post A Comment
  • Blogger Comment using Blogger
  • Facebook Comment using Facebook
  • Disqus Comment using Disqus

No comments :


Exhibitions / Travel

[Exhibitions] [bsummary]

Natural Heritage / Environment / Wildlife

[Natural Heritage] [list]

Astronomy / Astrobiology / Space Exploration

[Universe] [list]