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Radiocarbon Constraints on the Age of the World’s Highest-Elevation Cave-Bear Population, Conturines Cave (Dolomites, Northern Italy)

  • Christoph Spötl (a1), Paula J Reimer (a2), Gernot Rabeder (a3) and Christopher Bronk Ramsey (a4)
Abstract
Abstract

We report radiocarbon (14C) dates on bone samples of Ursus ladinicus, a small cave bear species well adapted to a life in the mountains, whose remains were found in Conturines Cave. Located at 2775 m asl in the Dolomites of northern Italy, this cave is by far the highest known cave bear site worldwide. Eleven 14C dates obtained by the Belfast and Oxford laboratories on samples showing good collagen preservation yielded consistent ages in excess of 46–50 ka BP. These results show that contrary to the previously held view these cave bear remains are older than Marine Isotope Stage 3, and likely date from a warm climate period with a high treeline, possibly the Last Interglacial.

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      Radiocarbon Constraints on the Age of the World’s Highest-Elevation Cave-Bear Population, Conturines Cave (Dolomites, Northern Italy)
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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: christoph.spoetl@uibk.ac.at.
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Radiocarbon
  • ISSN: 0033-8222
  • EISSN: 1945-5755
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