N. Jb. Geol. Paläont. Abh. 257/3, 257– 265
Ursus arctos on Lombardian Prealps: The natural trap of
Cima Paradiso Cave (Campo dei fiori, Varese)

Fabio Bona and Loredana Pagani, Milano
BONA, F. & PAGANI, L. (2010): Ursus arctos on Lombardian prealps: the natural trap of Cima Paradiso cave (Campo dei fiori, Varese). – N. Jb. Geol. Paläont. Abh., 257: 257–265; Stuttgart.
Abstract: 367 bones of Ursus arctos were collected in Cima Paradiso Cave (Campo dei Fiori, Varese)
in 1989. These finds represent an extraordinary discovery because of the rarity of brown bear remains studied from Italian ca ves. The occurrence of these bones is due to the confor mation of the ca ve, in particular to the depth of the chimne y cave entrance (about 25 m), on the bottom of w hich the bones have accumulated. This aspect and the absence of other known entrances suggest that the Cima Paradiso Cave was a natural trap, the only one documented yet from Italy. The morphometric analyses of the bones indicate that the specimens from the Cima Paradiso Cave fall into the size range of Late Pleistocene brown bears, thus confirming the calibrated 14C dating of 18.000 years BP.
Key words: Upper Pleistocene, Ursus arctos, natural trap, Northern Italy.
1. Introduction
(SALA 1990; CAPASSO BARBATO et al. 1990; B ON et al. 1991). In contrast, all o ver northern Italy caves In 1989 the speleolo gists of CAI Varese and of the containing rests of another species of bears, the ca ve Remeron group of the CAI Ga virate recovered 372 bear (Ursus spelaeus), are common (e. g., Caverna fossil bones from the Cima Paradiso Cave, located on Generosa, Como (BONA 2004a, b; BONA et al. 2007), Monte Campo dei Fiori (Varese). 367 of which belong Fontana Marella, Varese (PEREGO et al. 2001; BONA et to Ursus arctos and all are collected directl y on the al. 2008), Buco dell’Orso di Laglio, Como (CORNALIA surface of the ca ve at the end of the entrance pit 1859) in Lombardy; Covoli di Velo, Verona (ZORZIN et (unfortunately without the guide of a palaeontolo gist; al. 2005), Grotta del Broion, Vicenza (SALA 1980) in hence many important information on the original Veneto; Grotta delle “Pale Rosse” (BONA et al. 2004) position of the bones is lost). This discovery is unique in Trentino, and Grotta delle Conturines (R ABEDER in Italian palaeontology. Although the brown bear was widespread in the past in e very woody land of the The rarity of fossil Ursus arctos remains is related Lombardian Prealps, in the studied ca ves of this area to the different ethics between the two species and very few remains of this species have been recorded.
in particular to the choice of the type of their winter All over Italy many caves proliferated bro wn bear refuges. The brown bear usually prefers small ones remains, but usually only few bones for each cave are with a lo w entrance ca vity, whereas the ca ve bear surely recognized as belonging to the bro wn bear often used very big holes (BOSCAGLI 1986; OSTI 1999; 2010 E. Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany


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