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, 9 (3), e92144
eCollection

Bone Accumulation by Leopards in the Late Pleistocene in the Moncayo Massif (Zaragoza, NE Spain)

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Bone Accumulation by Leopards in the Late Pleistocene in the Moncayo Massif (Zaragoza, NE Spain)

Víctor Sauqué et al. PLoS One.

Abstract

Eating habits of Panthera pardus are well known. When there are caves in its territory, prey accumulates inside them. This helps to prevent its kill from being stolen by other predators like hyenas. Although the leopard is an accumulator of bones in caves, few studies have been conducted on existing lairs. There are, however, examples of fossil vertebrate sites whose main collecting agent is the leopard. During the Late Pleistocene, the leopard was a common carnivore in European faunal associations. Here we present a new locality of Quaternary mammals with a scarce human presence, the cave of Los Rincones (province of Zaragoza, Spain); we show the leopard to be the main accumulator of the bones in the cave, while there are no interactions between humans and leopards. For this purpose, a taphonomic analysis is performed on different bone-layers of the cave.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1. Geographical location and topography of the Los Rincones cave.
A, geographical location of los Rincones cave. B, panoramic view of the Los Rincones ravine. C and D elevation and plan views of the Los Rincones cave.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Plan view of Los Rincones with grid and NISP in each part.
A. plan view of the Los Rincones with the grid in Galería Ursus and collecting points in Galería Leopardo B. NISP per square in Galería Ursus and NISP per point in Galería Leopardo.
Figure 3.%
Figure 3.%. NISP from Los Rincones, n = 905.
Figure 4
Figure 4. Cranial remains of Ursus arctos from the Late Pleistocene of Los Rincones.
Cranial remains of Ursus arctos from the Late Pleistocene of Los Rincones. A skull of an adult Ri10/O13/34. Left maxilla of a juvenile. Ri10/O13/252, Ri10/O13/175. Right mandible of an adult Ri10/O13/217. Left mandible with canine of an adult Ri10/O13/200.
Figure 5
Figure 5. Postcranial remains of Ursus arctos from the Late Pleistocene of Los Rincones.
Postcranial remains of Ursus arctos (adult) from the Late Pleistocene of Los Rincones. A. Atlas Ri10/O13/326. B. Axis Ri10/O13/37. C. Left coxal Ri10/O13/24. D. Right humerus Ri10/O13/328. E. Left proximal part of ulna Ri10/O13/35. F. Right femur Ri10/O13/138. G. Left tibia Ri10/P13/6. H. Left Mc I Ri10/O13/9. I. Right Mc II Ri10/O13/54. J. Right Mc IV Ri10/O13/96. K. Left Mc V Ri10/P13/2. L. Left Mt II Ri10/O14/17. M. Right Mt III Ri10/O13/101.
Figure 6
Figure 6. Remains of Panthera pardus from the Late Pleistocene of Los Rincones.
Remains of Panthera pardus (adult) from the Late Pleistocene of Los Rincones. A. Right mandible Ri10/C1/2010. B. Left maxillary with P3–4 Ri10/O13/190. C. Right mandible with m1 and p4 Ri10/ O13/214,215. D Right Mt V Ri10/GL1/18. E. Left Mc III Ri10/GL1/16. F. Left Mc IV Ri10/GL1/17. G. Left ulna Ri10/O13/220. H. Right radius Ri10/O14/41. I. Right femur Ri10/O13/223. J. Right tibia Ri10/O13/13. K. Left astragalus Ri10/GL1/4. L. Left calcaneus Ri10/N1032. M. Right humerus Ri10/N10/5. N. Left tibia Ri10/O13/12. O. Phalanx I Ri10/GL1/11. P. Phalanx II Ri10/GL1/38. Q. Phalanx III Ri10/GL1/36.
Figure 7
Figure 7. Graphical representation of % Surv. according to skeletal elements recovered in Los Rincones.
Graphical representation of skeletal survival rate (% Surv.) according to skeletal elements and size categories established in Los Rincones faunal assemblage.
Figure 8
Figure 8. Examples of carnivore damage from Los Rincones faunal assemblage.
Examples of carnivore damage from Los Rincones faunal assemblage : A, vertebra of C. pyrenaica with puncture in both sides of the vertebral body Ri10/N1/39; B, phalanx of E. ferus with furrowing and pits Ri10/N10/68; C, radius of P. pardus with pits and scores in both ephysis Ri10/N10/216; D, phalanx of E. ferus with scores and pits Ri10/O13/71; E, atlas of C. pyrenaica with crenulated edges Ri10/O13/82.
Figure 9
Figure 9. Examples of anthropogenic damage from Los Rincones assemblage.
Examples of anthropogenic damage from Los Rincones assemblage. A, percussion marks related to marrow removal Ri10/N10/168. B, metacarpus of C. pyrenaica with oblique incisions related to defleshing Ri10/N10/195. C, humerus of C. pyrenaica with oblique chopmarks related to defleshing and also carnivore marks (scooping out) in proximal epiphysis Ri10/O13/179.
Figure 10
Figure 10. Mean of carnivore tooth pit sizes according bone type and length/breadth from Los Rincones.
Mean of carnivore tooth pit sizes according to bone type (cancellous and dense cortical) and length/width from Los Rincones. Legend data from: Delaney-Rivera et al., , Domínguez-Rodrigo and Piqueras , Saladié et al., and Selvaggio and Wilder .

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Grant support

Victor Sauqué is beneficiary of a predoctoral grant from the Government of Aragon. The Government of Aragon has partially subsidized our geological activities in Los Rincones (Exp. 50/2006, 132/2010). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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