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Earliest evidence of cave lions in southern Europe discovered


Still Waters

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Cave lions lived in what is now Italy around 660,000 to 610,000 years ago. This is confirmed by a metatarsal bone from the Notarchirico site near Venosa in the Basilicata region, which was discovered during a re-examination of earlier finds. It is the oldest evidence to date of the now extinct big cat in southern Europe.

The archaeological site of Notarchirico provided the oldest human fossil in Italy, probably an adolescent Homo heidelbergensis. The site is also well-known because it yielded one of the earliest evidence of the Acheulean culture in Europe and documents recurrent human settlement in the period between 695,000 and 610,000 years ago.

https://phys.org/news/2024-06-earliest-evidence-cave-lions-southern.html 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jqs.3639

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This is interesting.  I haven’t heard of cave lions before.  I have heard of cave bears.  I wonder if they were like our mountain lions or pumas.  I’ll have to do some research.

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The cave paintings in France show a cat more like a mountain lion, and less like the maned African lion.

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The cave lion would have been much larger than the mountain lion.

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47 minutes ago, Guyver said:

This is interesting.  I haven’t heard of cave lions before.  I have heard of cave bears.  I wonder if they were like our mountain lions or pumas.  I’ll have to do some research.

They were lions. Related to the African ones. Pumas are a completely different branch of the cat family and are related to Cheetahs. 

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44 minutes ago, Piney said:

They were lions. Related to the African ones. Pumas are a completely different branch of the cat family and are related to Cheetahs. 

The great plains lion and the cave lion were both pretty formidable.

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1 hour ago, Guyver said:

The cave paintings in France show a cat more like a mountain lion, and less like the maned African lion.

Steppe and cave lions probably didn’t have manes. If they did they were small.

 

1 minute ago, Antigonos said:

The great plains lion and the cave lion were both pretty formidable.

The steppe lion probably kept the nomads on their toes.

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4 minutes ago, Piney said:

 

The steppe lion probably kept the nomads on their toes.

Forget Godzilla vs Kong. This is the match up I want to see.

Smilodon vs Cave Lion

8FC1D7B2-6525-4724-B7C9-3E28823EA10B.jpeg

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6 minutes ago, Antigonos said:

Forget Godzilla vs Kong. This is the match up I want to see.

Smilodon vs Cave Lion

8FC1D7B2-6525-4724-B7C9-3E28823EA10B.jpeg

They had different niches and rarely crossed paths.

 Smilodon was a giant bobcat and probably stayed in the mountains and forests.

 

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8 minutes ago, Piney said:

They had different niches and rarely crossed paths.

 Smilodon was a giant bobcat and probably stayed in the mountains and forests.

 

Yes, but it’s a cool thought.

I think about these things when I’m sitting home alone and the power goes out.

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Just now, Antigonos said:

Yes, but it’s a cool thought.

I think about these things when I’m sitting home alone and the power goes out.

You could think worse. 

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1 minute ago, Piney said:

You could think worse. 

I have no doubt, bro.

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15 hours ago, Piney said:

Steppe and cave lions probably didn’t have manes. If they did they were small.

 

Tigers don't have either. Their skeletons are almost indistinguishable from lion skeletons.

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2 minutes ago, Abramelin said:

Tigers don't have either. Their skeletons are almost indistinguishable from lion skeletons.

They are both from the panthera genus. 

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33 minutes ago, Piney said:

They are both from the panthera genus. 

I know, and you can't tell one from the other just by looking at their bones.

So how do we know it were cave lions and not tigers?

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1 minute ago, Abramelin said:

I know, and you can't tell one from the other just by looking at their bones.

So how do we know it were cave lions and not tigers?

Their skulls are different and there is a manual and chart on ResearchGate. 

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5 minutes ago, Abramelin said:

I found another site:

http://mambobob-raptorsnest.blogspot.com/2008/07/lion-and-tiger.html?m=1

Yep, their skulls are slightly different.

Researchers have also collected DNA from soils and bones in other caves and they match the North American and Steppe lion. 

I think they were all the same species. Just a subspecies of each other but I don't remember. 

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28 minutes ago, Piney said:

Researchers have also collected DNA from soils and bones in other caves and they match the North American and Steppe lion. 

I think they were all the same species. Just a subspecies of each other but I don't remember. 

I think it's here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panthera_spelaea

 

But I found an interesting quote in that link:

One author considered the cave lion to be more closely related to the tiger based on a comparison of skull shapes, and proposed the scientific name Panthera tigris spelaea.[12]

So I checked that reference [12] :

https://www.schweizerbart.de/papers/njgpm/detail/1996/92332/Der_Hohlentiger_Panthera_tigris_spelaea_Goldfuss?af=crossref

Quote:

Abstract

The systematic status on the Quaternary “cave lion” from Franconian caves is controversially discussed. Studies of brain casts show that this species belongs to the tiger genus.

 

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13 minutes ago, Abramelin said:

I think it's here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panthera_spelaea

 

But I found an interesting quote in that link:

One author considered the cave lion to be more closely related to the tiger based on a comparison of skull shapes, and proposed the scientific name Panthera tigris spelaea.[12]

So I checked that reference [12] :

https://www.schweizerbart.de/papers/njgpm/detail/1996/92332/Der_Hohlentiger_Panthera_tigris_spelaea_Goldfuss?af=crossref

Quote:

Abstract

The systematic status on the Quaternary “cave lion” from Franconian caves is controversially discussed. Studies of brain casts show that this species belongs to the tiger genus.

 

That paper is from 1996. When DNA technology advanced many family trees and relationships went right into the trash.

For example every different type of pitcher plant on every continent are totally unrelated. They are all convergents.

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1 hour ago, Piney said:

Their skulls are different and there is a manual and chart on ResearchGate. 

A difference in skull structure is also what separated the true cats from the nimravids.

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4 minutes ago, Antigonos said:

the nimravids.

The first kitties who ate us when we still had a environmental niche. 

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