Fossil bear material from the oldest deposits in the Jasna Strzegowska cave (Silesia, southern Poland)

Adrian Przemysław Marciszak, Grzegorz Lipecki


Fossil bear material from the lowermost deposits of the Jasna Strzegowska cave is described and its taxonomic status assessed. Comparison with bear remains from other Early and early Middle Pleistocene localities of Eurasia shows the presence of two bear species: Ursus etruscus and U. deningeri, based on morphological and size characters of the teeth and postcranial bones. The teeth of U. deningeri from the Jasna Strzegowska cave are larger, wider and have much more complicated occlusal surfaces when compared with the teeth of U. etruscus. Both bear species are characterized by relatively short and robust metapodials, although those of U. etruscus are on average less massive. Some differences in muscle attachments and articular surfaces have also been found. Metapodials of primitive arctoid bears, that co-occurred with U. etruscus and U. deningeri, are much longer and slimmer. U. etruscus and U. deningeri probably did not live in the Jasna Strzegowska cave at the same time. Based on its time range in Eurasia and morphological characteristics, the age of U. etruscus is estimated as Early Pleistocene, between 1.8–1.3 Ma. This is its first description from Poland, and the remains described are in size and morphology indistinguishable from material from other European localities. For U. deningeri, an early Middle Pleistocene age is suggested.


teeth; metapodials; morphotypes; evolution; lineage

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