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Temporal variation in cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) dentition: The stratigraphic sequence of Scladina Cave, Belgium

Charters, D, Abrams, G, De Groote, I, Di Modica, K, Bonjean, D and Meloro, C (2018) Temporal variation in cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) dentition: The stratigraphic sequence of Scladina Cave, Belgium. Quaternary Science Reviews, 205. pp. 76-85. ISSN 0277-3791

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© 2018 Elsevier Ltd The supposed herbivorous cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) occupied Europe throughout the Quaternary. Being subject to large spatial variation has led to the intensive study on its geographical polymorphism, generating debates on sub-speciation. However, temporal morphological information on the species is somewhat lacking. Here, we apply geometric morphometrics (GMM) technique to investigate temporal morphological variation in molar size and shape of Ursus spelaeus from different chronostratigraphic sediment units in a geographically confined site (Scladina Cave, Belgium), covering approximately 100,000 years. Our findings show significant morphological variation between groups analysed in both size and shape. M2 shows a chronological size increase with PCA plots visually expressing differences in all groups, relating to a buccolingual expansion and an increase of the talon masticatory platform through time. Reduction in the M1 is also shown, possibly to maintain biomechanical performance of dentition for effective mastication, more so in groups relating to the latter stages of the Quaternary. Findings suggest a rapid response to climatic factors constraining consumable food sources, with GMM offering a promising analytical approach in understanding the palaeobiology, palaeoecology and morphological variation in extinct and extant fossil mammals.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 04 Earth Sciences, 21 History And Archaeology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2019 09:22
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:48
DOI or ID number: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2018.12.012
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9931
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