get more Type of Pathology: Bite marks

continue reading this Location Found: France

click this link now Source of pathology: Likely predation

his explanation Creator of pathology: Large cat

This specimen shows two holes created by teeth, one roughly rectangular, and the other nearly a perfect circle. As this is only half of the skull, I do not know if the lesions would have been repeated on the other side of the skull, but I imaging they would have been. There is no evidence of healing on this skull, so I would think these wounds were fatal. A look on the inside of the skull shows that the braincase was penetrated.

Bears were, and still are, large predators in their own right, but juveniles and other weaker individuals can still fall victim to predators. I believe the bite wounds were caused by some kind of large cat, for a few reasons. First, cats generally target the head or neck area of their prey. Second, cats also tend to be ambush predators, taking their prey from behind if possible. This is exactly what happened to this little bear. Third, the distance between the bite marks roughly matches a large cat such as a panther as opposed to a canid. I would also expect to see more crushing damage from a canid, whereas these wounds are fairly clean. Cave hyenas can also be ruled our for this reason.

There were several species of large cats found in Europe in the Pleistocene, any one of whom could have inflicted these injuries. They are the European Ice Age Leopard, Homotherium, and European Cave Lion. Based on the size of the bite marks, I am inclined to think the culprit was probably an Ice Age Leopard.