lunes, 15 de mayo de 2017

Cave fossil offers new clues about the huge hyenas that once roamed Europe

3/3. A drawing of a cave hyena near Los Aprendices cave, shown feeding on the carcass of a Spanish Ibex, inspired by the fossils found nearby the new cave hyena skeleton. Image: Saurqué et al. 2017

Nestled in the mountain slopes of northern Spain is a cave called Los Aprendices, which has been collecting bones and sediment for hundreds of thousands of years. A few years ago, scientists discovered the ancient skeleton of one of Europe's most famous Ice Age carnivores deep within this cavern: Crocuta spelaea, the cave hyena.

Remains of these extinct creatures can be found within hundreds of caves all across Europe, but most of these fossils are just bits and pieces – complete or even partial skeletons are extremely rare. But the skeleton discovered in Los Aprendices is an exception. More than 100 bones represent over half of the animal's whole body, making this the most complete cave hyena ever discovered on the Iberian Peninsula, and one of the most complete in all of Europe. Recently, these prized remains were examined by a group of Spanish researchers, offering up fresh clues about this ancient carnivore. [...] Earth Touch News / Link 2 

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