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RARE EUROPEAN CAVE LION PARTIALLY EATEN ULNA BONE WITH PROMINENT CAVE HYENA FANG PUNCTURE MARKS

North Sea - Holland

PLEISTOCENE PERIOD:  500,000 - 20,000 years ago

To label fossils of the European Cave Lion (Panthera leo spelaea) as "RARE" is an understatement, to say the least.  The material is infinitely more rare than the most famous large prehistoric cat fossils of the Americas - Smilodon fatalis, which continue to fetch world-record prices in the public market.  The absence of European Ice Age mega-predator fossils remains in the market underscores the sheer rarity of such material compared to more prevalent Smilodon material on American markets.  This is not only a rare primary limb bone of the European Cave Lion but it shows profound evidence of being eaten by another predator, most likely Crocuta crocuta spelaea, the giant European bone-cracking Cave Hyena.  The size of the conical bites match with typical fang diameters of the Hyena and lend to this theory supported by numerous scientific studies on fossil evidence of scenarios where Cave Hyenas regularly dined on the remains of the larger Cave Lions in Europe's final Ice Age.  Such a fossil from the North Sea is incredibly unusual due to the way the fossils are found in the fishing boats and also, since the bottom of the ocean floor (once dry land in the Pleistocene) is impossible to properly study or excavate today. 

This extremely robust limb bone is a partial ulna (lower arm bone) featuring an impeccably well-preserved condition including two opposing fang puncture marks on the proximal end.  One of the puncture marks is noticeably deep (see photos above).  As is typical with partially eaten bones, the ends have been gnawed away with the more fragile distal end being gnawed and bitten off with bites that partially penetrate the bone on an irregular chewed fracture.  The bone has been completely cleaned and conserved in our on-site lab and is intact as it was found with NO REPAIR OR RESTORATION.  The surface and damaged areas are identical in pigment to the undamaged areas indicating the broken end was ancient in origin and not due to modern cause.  Any and all fossil remains of the European Cave Lion is EXTRAORDINARILY RARE but major post-cranial remains such as a primary limb bone can be considered a once-in-a-lifetime find.  Recent scientific studies reveal a fascinating and brutal former world that existed in the last Ice Age of Europe where Cave Hyenas hunted and fed on Cave Bears, Cave Lions and even humans such as Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.  A bone like this that shows evidence of this fascinating new understanding of predator-predator conflict is a fossil that is of immense importance and interest.  VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

The European Cave Lion (Panthera leo spelaea) first appeared in Europe around 500,000 years ago and lived up to the near close of the last European Ice Age.  They coexisted with primitive humans such as Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man and prehistoric European cave paintings (SEE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE) have been found depicting these beasts as well as Paleolithic ivory carvings and clay figures.  Artifact evidence suggests these animals were worshipped and on rare occasion, hunted by prehistoric man. 

The European Cave Lion was larger than most living cats today and grew to average weights and lengths meeting or exceeding the largest ever recorded Siberian Tiger in modern time.  The overall head/body length averaged 11.5 feet with males weighing in at 880 pounds!  This massive predator appeared more like a mix between a lion and a tiger with very robust features.  Prehistoric art gives us a rare glimpse of what these creatures looked like when alive.  The European Cave Lion had protruding ears, little to no mane, faint tiger-like stripes and a tufted tail.  Typical prey included mammals such as horse, boar and deer.  Paleolithic cave deposits made by human habitation indicates these animals were also hunted by prehistoric man.  Without a doubt, the ultimate "bragging rights" went to the Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon who would have been able to kill one of these deadly monsters with only wood and stone weapons!

ULTRA RARE - MASSIVE EUROPEAN CAVE LION LIMB BONE WITH EVIDENCE OF BEING PARTIALLY EATEN BY A CAVE HYENA

9.25" in length

SOLD     LMX040     Actual Item - One Only

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EUROPEAN CAVE LION DEPICTED IN THIS PREHISTORIC CAVE ART IN THE CHAUVET CAVE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE.  PAINTED 32,000 YEARS AGO BY PRIMITIVE HUMANS, IT IS THE OLDEST CAVE ART KNOWN!!!

References:

Diedrich C. 2006a. By ice age spotted hyenas protracted, cracked, nibbled and chewed skeleton remains of Coelodonta antiquitatis (Blumenbach 1807) from the Lower Weichselian (Upper Pleistocene) open air prey deposit site Bad Wildungen-Biedensteg (Hesse, NW Germany). Journalof Taphonomy 4: 173–205.

Diedrich C. 2006b. The Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) population from the early Upper Pleistocene hyena open air prey deposit site Biedensteg near Bad Wildungen (Hesse, NW Germany) and contribution to their phylogenetic position, coprolites and prey. Cranium 23: 39–53.

Diedrich C. 2006c. Die oberpleistozäne Population von Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller 1794 aus dem eiszeitlichen Fleckenhyänenhorst Perick-Höhlen von Hemer (Sauerland, NW Deutschland). Philippia 12: 275–346.

Diedrich C. 2007a. Bone crackers and carcass accumulators in Central Bohemia – Late Pleistocene hyenas and their cave den and prey depot types. Scripta Facultatis Scientiarum Universitatis Masarykianae, Geology 35: 91–96.

Diedrich C. 2007b. The Upper Pleistocene Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) population and its prey from the gypsum karst den site Westeregeln near Magdeburg (Middle Germany). Abhandlungen und Berichte für Naturkunde Magdeburg 30: 57–83.

Diedrich C. 2007c. Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) remains from the Upper Pleistocene hyena Teufelskammer Cave den site near Hochdahl in the Neander valley (NRW, NW Germany). Cranium 24: 39–44.

Diedrich C. 2008a. The rediscovered holotypes of the Upper Pleistocene spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) and the steppe lion Panthera leo spelaea (Goldfuss 1810) and taphonomic discussion to the Zoolithen Cave hyena den at Geilenreuth (Bavaria, South-Germany). Zoological Journal of the Linnaean Society London 154: 822–831.

Diedrich C. 2008b. Eingeschleppte und benagte Knochenreste von Coelodonta antiquitatis (Blumenbach 1807) aus dem oberpleistozänen Fleckenhyänenhorst Perick-Höhlen im Nordsauerland (NW Deutschland) und Beitrag zur Taphonomie von Wollnashornknochen in Westfalen. Mitteilungen der Höhlen und Karstforscher 2008: 100–117.

Diedrich C. 2008c. Die letzen Vielfraße Gulo gulo (Linnaeus 1758) aus den Perick- und Rösenbecker Höhlen im Sauerländer Karst. Mitteilungen des Verbandes der deutschen Höhlen- und Karstforscher 54: 36–44.

Diedrich C. 2008d. Late Pleistocene hyenas Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) from Upper Rhine valley open air sites and the contribution to skull shape variability. Cranium 25: 31–42.

Diedrich C. 2009a. Steppe lion remains imported by Ice Age spotted hyenas into the Late Pleistocene Perick Caves hyena den in Northern Germany. Quaternary Research 71: 361–374.

Diedrich C. 2009b. Upper Pleistocene Panthera leo spelaea (Goldfuss 1810) remains from the Bilstein Caves (Sauerland Karst) and contribution to the steppe lion taphonomy, palaeobiology and sexual dimorphism. Annales de Paléontologie 95: 117–138.

Diedrich C. 2009c. Cave bear killers, scavengers between the Scandinavian and Alpine Ice shields – the last hyenas and cave bears in antagonism – and the reason why cave bears hibernated deeply in caves. Stalactite 58: 53–63.

Diedrich C. 2009d. Late Pleistocene hyenas Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) from Upper Rhine valley open air sites and the contribution to skull shape variability. Cranium 25: 31–42.

Diedrich C. 2010a. Specialized horse killers in Europe – foetal horse remains in the Late Pleistocene Srbsko Chlum- Komín Cave hyena den in the Bohemian Karst (Czech Republic) and actualistic comparisons to modern African spotted hyenas as zebra hunters. Quaternary International 220: 174–187.

Diedrich C. 2010c. Periodical use of the Balve Cave (NW Germany) as a Late Pleistocene Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) den – hyena occupations and bone accumulations versus human Middle Palaeolithic activity. Quaternary International (in press).

Diedrich C. 2010d. The Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) population and its prey from the Late Pleistocene Teufelskammer Cave hyena den besides the famous Paleolithic Neandertal Cave (NRW, NW Germany). HistoricalBiology (in press).

Diedrich C. 2010e. Disappearance of the last hyenas and lions of Europe in the Late Quaternary – a chain reaction of large mammal mammoth and woolly rhino prey extinction. In: Borcherens H, Pacher M, eds. SSP.4 – Late Quaternary mammal ecology: insight from new approaches (direct dating, stable isotopes, DNA). Geophysical Research Abstracts 12:EGU2010–2124..

Diedrich C. 2011a. Europe’s first Upper Pleistocene Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) skeleton from the Koneˇ- prusy Caves – a hyena cave prey depot site in the Bohemian Karst (Czech Republic) – Late Pleistocene woolly rhinoceros scavengers. Historical Biology (in press).

Diedrich C. 2011b. The Late Pleistocene spotted hyena Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) population with its type specimens from the Zoolithen Cave at Gailenreuth (Bavaria, South Germany) – a hyena cub raising den of specialized cave bear scavengers in boreal forest environments of Central Europe. Historical Biology (in press).

Diedrich C. 2011d. Periodical use of the Balve Cave (NW Germany) as a Late Pleistocene Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) den. Hyena occupations and bone accumulations vs. human Middle Palaeolithic activity. Quaternary International 233: 171–184.

Diedrich C. 2011e. The Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) population and its prey from the Late Pleistocene Teufelskammer Cave hyena den besides the famous Paleolithic Neandertal Cave (NRW, NW Germany). HistoricalBiology 2011(1): 1–34.

Diedrich C, Schäfer D, Rapsilber I, Wansa S, Weber T. 2010. Neandertalercamp und Hyänenhorst – Neue Untersuchungen im pleistozänen Gipskarst von Westeregeln, Salzlandkreis (Sachsen-Anhalt). Abstract Book, 21–22.

Diedrich C, Žák K. 2006. Upper Pleistocene hyena Crocuta crocuta spelaea (Goldfuss 1823) prey deposit and den sites in horizontal and vertical caves of the Bohemian Karst (Czech Republic). Bulletin of Geosciences 81: 237–276.

Kruuk H. 1972. The spotted hyena. A story of predation and social behavior. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

 

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