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News about Conturines cave bears

The remains of Ursus ladinicus were discovered 30 years ago in the interior of Conturines Cave in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. The initial age assignment of these findings as Middle Würmian (Marine Isotope Stage 3) raised serious questions about the palaeovegetation and palaeoclimate given that the cave is located in a barren high-alpine landscape. Using high-quality bone material independently analysed in two laboratories we show that these cave bear remains are older than the limit of radiocarbon dating and that the presence of these herbivors has no implications for the MIS 3 paleoclimate in the Alps, solving a long-standing conundrum.

See publication in Radiocarbon.

Image source: Museum Ladin Ursus ladinicus.