Late Pleistocene leopards as a bone accumulator: taphonomic results from S’Espasa cave and other Iberian key sites

Víctor Sauqué, Alfred Sanchis, Joan Madurell-Malapeira

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2017, © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The Pleistocene faunal accumulations documented in caves have commonly been attributed to the activity of humans or carnivores. According to the palaeontological and archaeological literature, cave hyena (Crocuta spelaea) was the main known bone accumulator in karstic environments. However, in recent times, the role of leopards as bone accumulators has been revealed, and recent research has identified this behaviour in the Iberian Pleistocene. Moreover, there are other caves where leopard could have been claimed as an accumulator such as S’Espasa. In this work we present its taphonomic study. This cave was compared with the actualistic studies of leopards. Besides, the site of S’Espasa was compared with the other leopard dens in the Iberian Peninsula. These sites present faunal assemblages composed mainly by leopard (Panthera pardus) and Iberian wild goat (Capra pyrenaica), the bones of this ungulate present a similar pattern of bone modification by carnivores, skeletal survival rate, and bone breakage. These features indicate that goats could have been accumulated by leopards. With the data from this work and the previous ones, we try to establish a pattern that will help in the future to identify other accumulations created by this big cat.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)821-834
    JournalHistorical Biology
    Volume30
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2018

    Keywords

    • Capra pyrenaica
    • Iberian Peninsula
    • Panthera pardus
    • Pleistocene
    • Taphonomy

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