Basic population and taphonomic analysis of bear assemblages from Za Hájovnou Cave (Moravia, the Czech Republic): a fossil record from 1987 – 2007.
8,210 ursid dental and osteological elements, found in fossiliferous deposits of the Moravian Za Hájovnou Cave between 1987 and 2007, were analysed from basic palaeobiological and taphonomic viewpoints. Minimally 60% of the entire ursid record is represented by Middle Pleistocene bear assemblage(-s) (Ursus ex gr. deningeri, MIS 9 to probably MIS 11), consisting of at least 21 juveniles and 16 (prime) adults. Neonates and senile adults are represented only sporadically which could indicate an assemblage(-s) with non-violent attrition. From the viewpoint of sex ratio, females predominate over males (sex index = 63.64). The main cause of individual death was probably starvation during hibernation, although other reasons for perishing (disease, activity of predators, etc.) cannot be excluded. The remainder of the fossil record at the site, from late Middle Pleistocene to Late Pleistocene deposits , is probably represented by remains of cave bears (U. ex gr. spelaeus).