The Lair Of A Cave Lion At Least 12 Thousand Years Old Discovered In The Ural Cave
Ural speleologists have found a cave in which at least 12 thousand years ago was presumably the lair of a cave lion. In addition to the bones of the predator, researchers found the remains of a mammoth, bison, rhinoceros, and several other animals. All the finds were handed over by speleologists to paleontologists of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Yevgeny Tsurikhin, Chairman of the Commission of the Russian Union of speleologists for the protection and use of caves, told TASS.
The cave that cavers called "the snow maiden," located on the river Tality – a tributary of the river Ivdel. In it, researchers came across ancient animal bones. The strange thing was that the remains were located in a remote part of the cave – after the lake, the steep climb up and narrow passages. The animals themselves could not have got there.
"The clue is that there was another entrance to the cave where a predator – presumably a cave lion-lived," explains the speleologist. And the bones were sliding with the floodwaters down into the cave, where we found them. The bones show traces of teeth, which confirms this hypothesis." In the supposed place of the cave lion's lair, speleologists found a shallow passage that can still accommodate a large animal.
The researchers passed all their findings to paleontologists of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. "They identified a mammoth, a bison, a rhinoceros, a horse, a bear. The age is at least 12,000 years old," Tsurikhin added.
Cave lion's lair
"In caves, especially where the entrance is, predators settle, arrange a lair, bring their prey there, raise their young there," Pavel Kosintsev, a senior researcher at the Institute of plant and animal ecology of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, who is researching the find, explained to TASS." There are various kinds of bones accumulating there. The bones of a cave lion were found, and it seems that the lion lived there, because another predator, such as a wolf, can't get a bison or a rhinoceros, and only a lion can do it."
He also added that the remains included the bones of a reindeer. The age of all the bones is still determined by experts at least 12 thousand years. Radiocarbon Dating should be performed for more accurate information. Kosintsev notes that some of the bones may be much older: if the cave was convenient, predators could have settled in it for many years.
"The difference between the animals that lived here 12 thousand years ago is mainly in size: they were larger. The bears that lived in the Urals at that time were the size of a modern polar bear, and closer to our time they were grinding. The horses were more massive, and their bones were much more massive. But the same red deer that was found in the cave was about the same size; different species changed in different ways over time," the scientist explained.
Tsurikhin noted that he and his colleagues want to conduct further research of the cave.