Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
New interface
Journal articles

Le Bison des steppes, Bison priscus Bojanus, 1827, de la grotte d'Habarra à Arudy (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).

Abstract : During the Quaternary, Habarra cave acted as a natural trap; many large mammals fell through two natural opening in the roof and became entombed within it. Discovered in 1984, the site was subsequently excavated by members of the Groupe Spéléologique de la Vallée d'Ossau (G.S.V.O.), the Groupe Archéologique des Pyrénées-Occidentales (G.A.P.O.), the Direction des Antiquités Préhistoriques d'Aquitaine and the Institut du Quaternaire de l'Université de Bordeaux 1. Even though the excavations were not extensive, many fossil specimens from a variety of large Pleistocene mammals were retrieved, including those of Reindeer, Horse, Red deer and Rhinoceros. Best documented in terms of both specimens and individuals is the steppe bison (Bison priscus). The remains of at least 20 of these animals were collected, of which four individuals are particularly well-represented. The collection as a whole provides remarkably thorough documentation of the Bison priscus skeleton, in turn allowing detailed osteological analyses.
We have used morphological and biometric analyses to improve our understanding of 1) sexual differences within Bison priscus establishing a number of skeletal characters that can be used to distinguish males and females of this species; 2) species-level differences, providing biometric data that allow more secure differentiation of Bison priscus from Bison bison and Bison bonasus, and, 3) genus-level differences, since we have been able to use the Habarra Cave Bison priscus material to examine the validity of a series of criteria that may allow the differentiation of Bos and Bison.
We have presented our results in the form of a manual of comparative anatomy for Bos and Bison, a manual founded on both modern material and on the fossil remains of the animal involved. The detailed table of contents will allow the reader to quickly find descriptions and information relevant to a particular skeletal element or individual, while Table 42 provides a list of specimens for each Habarra Bison priscus individual. The profile of Bison priscus is familiar to us from the depictions left by prehistoric artists, but much less has been known of the skeleton of this remarkable Pleistocene ungulate, at least in terms of morphological and biometric variability. Although we are fully aware that this work is not without fault, it is our hope that it will help fill this significant gap in our knowledge.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Jean-Luc Guadelli Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, March 8, 2007 - 2:05:44 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 10:50:02 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00135490, version 1



François Prat, Françoise Delpech, Nicolas Cancel, Jean-Luc Guadelli, René Slott-Moller. Le Bison des steppes, Bison priscus Bojanus, 1827, de la grotte d'Habarra à Arudy (Pyrénées-Atlantiques).. PALEO : Revue d'Archéologie Préhistorique, 2003, 15 - Cahier spécial, pp.1-102. ⟨halshs-00135490⟩



Record views