Stable isotopes data (delta13C, delta15N) from the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus): a new approach to its palaeoenvironment and dormancy.

Abstract

Palaeoclimatic data that can be extracted from the isotopic signatures of delta13C and delta15N, which are found in fossil bone collagen, should be analysed according to the specific metabolism of each species. Although Ursus spelaeus is an extinct species, its metabolism is assimilated to current, closely related species of bear. In this study, bone collagen isotopic signatures (delta13C and delta15N) of cave bears from Late Pleistocene Alpine sites were compared to those that have already been documented. The delta13C signature did not seem to follow a systematic trend according to climatic conditions, probably as a consequence of the high variability present in the values of C3 plants, which were the basis of feeding. On the contrary, the delta15N signature displayed higher values in sites corresponding to colder periods in which the delta15N signature appeared to be dominated by the physiology of dormancy. Then, due to the reuse of urea in synthesizing amino acids, the delta15N signature systematically increased along with dormancy duration. This was related to the length of winter and, in turn, depended on climate.

Cite this paper

@article{FernndezMosquera2001StableID, title={Stable isotopes data (delta13C, delta15N) from the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus): a new approach to its palaeoenvironment and dormancy.}, author={D Fern{\'a}ndez-Mosquera and M Vila-Taboada and Aurora Grandal-d'Anglade}, journal={Proceedings. Biological sciences}, year={2001}, volume={268 1472}, pages={1159-64} }