Distinguishing between Bos and Bison petrous bones. A case study: bovines from the Des-Cubierta Cave (Pinilla del Valle, Madrid)


The taxonomic identification of large bovine remains in archaeological and palaeontological sites is important in order to infer the palaeoenvironment of these sites and to know if their inhabitants were hunters of Bosor Bison. Their presence may also have biostratigraphic or archaeozoological implications. Although the petrous bone is one of the elements of the skeleton with the greatest preservation potential in prehistoric sites, due to its hardness and compactness, it is not frequently used by the palaeontologists to distinguish between Bosand Bison, the two genera commonly present at the sites during the Pleistocene. Due to the abundance of petrous bones at the Late Pleistocene layers of the Des-Cubierta cave, the aim of this work is to identify Bosand Bisonin this site through the morphological features defined by Guadelli (1999) for this bone and using morphometric geometrics with material of Bos taurus,Bos primigenius, and Bison priscusin order to identify the differences among petrous bones of these species.

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