Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Cave bear in Slovenia: population structure and paleobiology

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
1.06.00  Natural sciences and mathematics  Geology   

Code Science Field
P006  Natural sciences and mathematics  Palaeontology 
cave bear, Ursus spelaeus, Pleistocene, individual age determination, sex determination, population structure, mortality, taphonomy
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (4)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  17351  Kata Cvetko-Barić    Technical associate  2003 - 2005 
2.  11325  PhD Irena Debeljak  Natural sciences and mathematics  Researcher  2003 - 2005  104 
3.  05794  PhD Špela Goričan  Geology  Head  2003 - 2005  279 
4.  13607  PhD Adrijan Košir  Geology  Researcher  2003 - 2005  243 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,857 
In the framework of the proposed project we are going to estimate proportions of different age classes and the sex ratio in fossil populations of the cave bear from Slovenian Palaeolithic sites (Divje babe I, Potočka zijalka, Mokriška jama). Many thousands of isolated teeth and jawbones of cave bear will be included in this research. Individual age will be determined with the analysis of dental tissues (dentine and cementum) and sex will be determined on the basis of canines' dimensions. First of all, we would like to find out how the structure of population changes between layers of the same site and to which extent the population dynamics depends on climate, frequency of human presence in the cave and other circumstances during the deposition of individual layers. We will study and compare sites from different natural environments, belonging to different time span in Upper Pleistocene and that have been excavated by different field methodology. Our purpose is to define factors, that have influenced the structure of fossil populations - from specific animal behaviour, e.g. selective choice of the den with regard to the sex and age of animals, to various (taphonomic) processes that resulted in the destruction and loss of particular part of original remains. The aim of the project is to acquire some new knowledge concerning cave bear paleobiology: We are interested in the upper age limit of these animals, characteristics of their nutrition, the mortality rate in different age periods... The results obtained will be compared with data on present-day bears.
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