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Palaeohistology and life history evolution in cave bears, Ursus spelaeus sensu lato


Veitschegger, Kristof; Kolb, Christian; Amson, Eli; Scheyer, Torsten M; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2018). Palaeohistology and life history evolution in cave bears, Ursus spelaeus sensu lato. PLoS ONE, 13(11):e0206791.

Abstract

The abundance of skeletal remains of cave bears in Pleistocene deposits can offer crucial information on the biology and life history of this megafaunal element. The histological study of 62 femora from 23 different European localities and comparisons with specimens of five extant ursid species revealed novel data on tissue types and growth patterns. Cave bear’s femoral bone microstructure is characterized by a fibrolamellar complex with increasing amounts of parallel-fibered and lamellar bone towards the outer cortex. Remodelling of the primary bone tissue initially occurs close to the perimedullary margin of the bone cortex around the linea aspera. Although similar histological traits can be observed in many extant bear species, the composition of the fibrolamellar complex can vary greatly. Cave bears reached skeletal maturity between the ages of 10 and 14, which is late compared to other bear species. There is a significant correlation between altitude and growth, which reflects the different body sizes of cave bears from different altitudes.

Abstract

The abundance of skeletal remains of cave bears in Pleistocene deposits can offer crucial information on the biology and life history of this megafaunal element. The histological study of 62 femora from 23 different European localities and comparisons with specimens of five extant ursid species revealed novel data on tissue types and growth patterns. Cave bear’s femoral bone microstructure is characterized by a fibrolamellar complex with increasing amounts of parallel-fibered and lamellar bone towards the outer cortex. Remodelling of the primary bone tissue initially occurs close to the perimedullary margin of the bone cortex around the linea aspera. Although similar histological traits can be observed in many extant bear species, the composition of the fibrolamellar complex can vary greatly. Cave bears reached skeletal maturity between the ages of 10 and 14, which is late compared to other bear species. There is a significant correlation between altitude and growth, which reflects the different body sizes of cave bears from different altitudes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:21 November 2018
Deposited On:29 Nov 2018 08:11
Last Modified:25 Jan 2019 11:02
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0206791
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_169395
  • : Project TitleThe developmental bases of variation in mammalian domestication: comparative ontogenetic and experimental approaches
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_149506
  • : Project TitleSensory Palaeoecology in Secondary Aquatic Reptiles - The Radiation of Independent Triassic Marine Reptile Lineages following the E. Largest Mass Extinction Event

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