Barová Cave in comparison with other bear caves in the Moravian Karst

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Acta Mus. Moraviae, Sci. Geol. 103 (2018), issue 2, pages 109-143

Barová Cave in comparison with other bear caves in the Moravian Karst

The authors compare the osteological remains of fauna from the Barová Cave with osteological remains from the Výpustek Cave, the Sloupsko-šošůvské Caves and the Pod hradem Cave in this article. All the mentioned caves are located in Moravian Karst (Moravia, Czech Republic; fig. 1). The Výpustek Cave is known in the literature since 1608. The first paleontological research was carried out by M. Kříž (from 1864 to 1893) and J. Wankel (from 1869 to 1882), and the research of the Viennese Prehistoric Commission of the Academy of Sciences (from 1879 to 1883) was also carried out here. Between 1920 and 1922 phosphate cave loam was dug out from the Výpustek Cave, mining led to almost complete removal of sediments and the destruction of paleontological content. Later this cave was unfortunately also devastated, served as a factory and a military object. The Sloupsko-šošůvské Caves were mentioned in the literature for the first time in 1669, research in these caves was conducted by J. Wankel (from 1850 to 1868) and M. Kříž. At the end of the 19th century, the animal bones from the Sloupsko-šošůvské Caves were industrially mined for the spodium, mining has more or less destroyed the fossiliferous layers. In the years 1996–2000, a research conducted by the Anthropos Institute of the Moravian Museum led by L. Seitl took place in the Sloupsko-šošůvské Caves. In the Cave Pod hradem, was the first research conducted by J. Knies (in 1890 and from 1896 to 1898). Multidisciplinary research took place in this cave from 1956 to 1958, led by R. Musil and K. Valoch and new multidisciplinary research in the Pod hradem Cave took place in 2011, 2012 and 2016 under the leadership of L. Nejman. The Barová Cave was discovered in 1947. Paleontological research was carried out by R. Musil (in 1958) and L. Seitl (from 1983 to 1986) in this cave and since 2011 the authors of this article have been exploring the Barová Cave. Animal osteological material from research carried out after 1945 is stored in the collections of the Anthropos Institute of the Moravian Museum (with the exception of animal bones from L. Nejman’s research).

By studying literature and studying collections of osteological material, it was found that the composition of mammalian species was very similar in all studied caves. Cave bear was always the dominant. His bones were 93–99% of all animal osteological material. Of the larger carnivores, the cave lions, cave hyenas, and wolves were present in all the caves. Bones of red foxes, polar foxes and martens were also found in all caves and in three of these caves the bones of brown bear and wolverine were found too. Of the herbivorous animals, bones of woolly rhinoceros, horse, reindeer, red deer, aurochs or steppe bison were found in all caves. In three caves (out of the total of four that were studied) there were bones of woolly mammoth, giant deer, roe deer, ibex and hare. All four caves served as a wintering den for the cave bear. Occasionally, the caves were also used as a hiding place for cave hyenas, wolves and cave lions. The bones of herbivores found in caves are probably remnants of prey of carnivores. A high degree of similarity of the mammalian assemblages of the four studied caves leads to the consideration that these assemblages come from the same time period. On the basis of information on the age of fossil layers and animal bones in individual caves, it can be assumed that the age of assemblages could be between 30,000 years BP and 55,000 years BP.


Martina Roblíčková, Moravian Museum, Historical Museum, Anthropos Institute, Zelný trh 6, 659 37 Brno, Czech Republic, e-mail:
Aleš Plichta, Masaryk University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences, Kotlářská 267/2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic, e-mail:
Vlastislav Káňa, Muzeum Blanenska p. o., Zámek 1, 678 01 Blansko, Czech Republic, e-mail:

Roblíčková, M., Plichta, A., Káňa, V., 2018: Jeskyně Barová ve srovnání s dalšími „medvědími“ jeskyněmi Moravského krasu. – Acta Mus. Morav., Sci. Geol., 103, 2, 109–143 (with English summary)
ISSN: 1211–8796