Pierced Ice Age cave bear skull may be the earliest evidence that humans prey on the animal

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The skull of a small cave bear from the last Ice Age has been found in Russia and may contain the earliest evidence that the animal was hunted by humans.

A team from Ural Federal University has uncovered the skull in Imanay Cave, which bears a hole made from a spear pushed into his head about 35,000 years ago.

The bear was nine to 10 years old, according to researchers when it was killed during its hibernation during the last ice age, which occurred 115,000 to 11,700 years ago.

However, the team also suggests that the hole may have been created naturally by “a rock that could fall on the bear’s head, or that water may have dripped onto the skull over thousands of years,” said Dmitry Gimranov, senior researcher at the study. laboratories of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Ural Federal University, said in a statement.

“But that’s highly unlikely. Most likely the animal was killed by ancient people,’ he continued.

The skull of an Ice Age cave bear found in Russia may contain the earliest evidence that the animal is hunted by humans

The skull of an Ice Age cave bear found in Russia may contain the earliest evidence that the animal is hunted by humans

The cave bear skull was one of more than 10,000 remains of the late Pleistocene period uncovered during three years of excavations in Bashkiria National Park.

The most recent ice age occurred during the Pleistocene, which started 2.8 million years ago and lasted until 11,700 years ago.

Remains include thousands of bone fragments from red foxes, mammoths, cave lions and woolly rhinoceroses that once roamed the area, according to the report. study published in Vestnik Archeologii, Anthropologii I Ethnographii.

To determine whether the bear was killed or not, scientists determined when the hole was made – during the animal’s life or after death.

If the hole was made in the bear’s skull after he died, it could be evidence of a ritual common at the time.

The bear was nine to 10 years old, according to researchers when it was killed during its hibernation during the last ice age that occurred 115,000 to 11,700 years ago.

The bear was nine to 10 years old, according to researchers when it was killed during its hibernation during the last ice age that occurred 115,000 to 11,700 years ago.

A team from Ural Federal University has uncovered the skull in Imanay Cave

A team from Ural Federal University has uncovered the skull in Imanay Cave

Gimranov and his team were able to date the bear’s skull using growth layers on its teeth, which also allowed them to determine the bear’s age when it died.

The skull was also found near evidence of human habitation in the Pleistocene, supporting the idea that the animal was killed by humans in its sleep.

Pleistocene humans hunted large animals to support an entire community, so a small cave bear is rare prey during this time.

However, Gimranov also notes that these ancient people had such power that they could relatively easily pierce the bear’s skull at close range with a spear.

Cave bears inhabited the area of ​​northern Eurasia in the Late Pleistocene, which ranged from 250,000 to about 10,000 years ago, the statement said.

The skull was found mixed with human artifacts (photo)

Cave bears inhabited the territory of Northern Eurasia in the Late Pleistocene, which ranged from 250,000 to 10,000 years ago

The skull was found mixed with human artifacts (left). On the right is a drawing of the now extinct cave bear

Gimranov and his team were able to date the bear's skull using growth layers on its teeth, which also allowed them to determine the bear's age when it died.

Gimranov and his team were able to date the bear’s skull using growth layers on its teeth, which also allowed them to determine the bear’s age when it died.

These animals were often found in the fauna of Western Europe, the Russian Caucasus and the Urals.

And many digs have found both remains of the ancient cave bears and humans mixed in caves, so the latest discovery isn’t uncommon.

However, the Pleistocene lesser cave bear is not a common species of cave bear.

The animal weighed between 880 and 2200 pounds, with the largest being comparable to the Kodiak bears found in Alaska.

And the first cave bear remains were unearthed in Britain in 1922.

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