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Longevity and life history of cave bears – a review and novel data from tooth cementum and relative emergence of permanent dentition


Veitschegger, Kristof; Kolb, Christian; Amson, Eli; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2019). Longevity and life history of cave bears – a review and novel data from tooth cementum and relative emergence of permanent dentition. Historical Biology, 31(4):510-516.

Abstract

Longevity and other life history variables are key to understanding evolutionary processes and the biology of extinct animals. For the past 20 years, the lifespan of cave bears received an increased interest. Studies focusing on incremental lines of tooth cementum resulted in detailed mortality patterns from different localities. In this review, we summarise literature on age estimation as well as mortality of different European cave bear localities and present novel data on longevity from 94 teeth originating from 20 European localities. Additionally, the relative tooth emergence pattern of the permanent dentition is investigated under the Schultz’s rule framework of possible life history implications. For this, the known sequences of extant bear species are compared with the one of cave bears. Our results suggest that the typical duration of the life of cave bears was 19 years but data from literature show that in rare cases ages of up to 30–32 years were achieved. Additionally, we present the oldest known age for the Middle Pleistocene cave bear Ursus deningeri, 29 years. The tooth eruption pattern of cave bears exhibits a heterochronic shift that implies, under the assumption of Schulz’ rule, a slightly faster life history than closely related species.

Abstract

Longevity and other life history variables are key to understanding evolutionary processes and the biology of extinct animals. For the past 20 years, the lifespan of cave bears received an increased interest. Studies focusing on incremental lines of tooth cementum resulted in detailed mortality patterns from different localities. In this review, we summarise literature on age estimation as well as mortality of different European cave bear localities and present novel data on longevity from 94 teeth originating from 20 European localities. Additionally, the relative tooth emergence pattern of the permanent dentition is investigated under the Schultz’s rule framework of possible life history implications. For this, the known sequences of extant bear species are compared with the one of cave bears. Our results suggest that the typical duration of the life of cave bears was 19 years but data from literature show that in rare cases ages of up to 30–32 years were achieved. Additionally, we present the oldest known age for the Middle Pleistocene cave bear Ursus deningeri, 29 years. The tooth eruption pattern of cave bears exhibits a heterochronic shift that implies, under the assumption of Schulz’ rule, a slightly faster life history than closely related species.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Language:English
Date:21 April 2019
Deposited On:17 Jan 2020 13:59
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 13:24
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:0891-2963
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2018.1441293
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_149605
  • : Project TitlePostnatal development and the generation of morphological and life history diversity in mammalian evolution: a study of heterochrony, modularity and bone histology in extant and extinct forms

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