Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Of cave bear carnivory and istope studies

John Hawks offers some thoughtful remarks on the conclusions of a new isotope study that claims to establish that at least some cave bears (in this case, those found at Pestera cu Oase) were quite carnivorous. He cautions that there is at least one alternative explanation - fish consumption - that could equally account for the high ratios of nitrogen-15 in those cave bear remains, so that the case for substantial predation on land mammals might not be fully warranted. This is an interesting take on the issue, especially considering the conclusions of recent isotopic studies of Neanderthals and Gravettian Homo sapiens.

Update (Jan. 8, 07; 17:34): Read more about the discovery on Science Daily and in the press release from the University of Bristol.

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