Intraguild interactions among carnivorans of the last glacial: The case of wolves and bears from Muierilor Cave, Romania

Marius Robu, Nimrod Marom, Ionuț Cornel Mirea, Luchiana Maria Faur, Alexandru Petculescu, Marius Kenesz, Roee Shafir, Natalia Égüez, Silviu Constantin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A recent palaeontological excavation in Muierilor Cave, southern Carpathians (Romania), has recovered one of the largest populations of Late Pleistocene wolves (Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758; MNI = 25) documented in Eurasian cave deposits. Many individual nests with wolf bones, including fully articulated skeletons, were found in a remote passage of the cave suggesting a communal behavior similar to that of modern conspecifics. Radiocarbon dates indicate constant use of the cave by these canids throughout the Marine Isotopic Stages 3 (MIS 3; 59‒29 cal ka BP). This deposit affords an opportunity to study the extraordinary resilience and adaptability of C. lupus following the extinction of other large carnivores at the onset of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Using taphonomic, stable isotope and radiocarbon data, we make a case that these canids preyed/scavenged upon the cave bears (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller, 1794; MNI = 82) that used the same cave for hibernation, along with other Ice Age megafauna such as cave lions (Panthera spelaea Goldfuss, 1810; MNI = 4) and cave hyenas (Crocuta spelaea Goldfuss, 1823; MNI = 3), which were also found in the same bone assemblage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108720
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


  • Canis lupus
  • Crocuta crocuta spelaea
  • Late Pleistocene
  • Panthera spelaea
  • Ursus spelaeus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Geology


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