Battle of the Brutes: Did Cavemen Fend Off Cavebears for the Same Turf?

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If the research is true, we all know who won.

The first humans may have had to battle the beasts to claim their living space. The study to be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science sheds light on how cavemen conquered the bears, leading to their extinction.

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The French researchers looked back more than 32,000 years ago, when humans began to use caves as their habitats. The Chauvet cave is one of the most prominent ancient caves to have been discovered, and researcher Celine Bon and her team have found evidence that both bears and humans used the cave for shelter – though they did most likely did not coexist.

“The cave bear population began to decline at the same time that modern humans arrived in Europe,” Bon said. “Yet it is unclear if humans are responsible for the cave bear extinction because of competition over space or food resources, or if the extinction of cave bears is due to climatic and/or environmental changes.”

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They studied the Chauvet-Pont d’Arc and Deux-Ouvertures caves and found that the battle may have resulted in a trade-off. The bears are thought to have lived in the caves during winter hibernation, while humans took over the domain in the summer. But it appears that the humans were eventually able to overpower the cavebears.

The scientists from the Institute of Biology and Technology at Saclay, France found art in the caves that depicted cavebears from more than 29,000 years ago. Now that’s some manly art we’d like to hang on our wall.

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