Feryho tajná Cave and its fauna (Moravian Karst, Czech Republic)

Article PDF
Acta Mus. Moraviae, Sci. Geol. 105 (2020), issue 2, pages 250-275

Feryho tajná Cave and its fauna (Moravian Karst, Czech Republic)

The Feryho tajná Cave is located in the northern part of the Moravian Karst (Czech Republic). Based on the deposited sediments and the different shape of the individual corridors, it can be stated that the cave has gone through several stages of development. Speleological research has revealed Pleistocene and Holocene sediments, but mainly provided evidences of the cave using by Late Pleistocene and Holocene fauna as well as probably Bronze Age people. Only the bones of large and medium-sized mammals are evaluated in the presented article, not very numerous bones of small mammals (rodents, insectivores and bats), birds, amphibians and fish will be processed and published in the following years.

The Late Pleistocene layer (lower finding layer, ie. lower layer containing animal bones) of the Feryho tajná Cave contained mainly bones of brown bear (Ursus arctos ssp., 21 % of determined bones) and unspecified bear (but not a cave bear, Ursus sp., 13 % of determined bones). In small quantities were found bones of other carnivores, such as wolf (Canis lupus), cave lion (Panthera spelaea) or cave hyena (Crocuta crocuta spelaea). The Late Pleistocene layers also contain several pieces of bones from herbivores such as horse (Equus sp.), aurochs or steppe bison (Bos primigenius / Bison priscus), rain deer (Rangifer tarandus) or woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis), which were brought into the cave by above-mentioned carnivo res. Brown bear bones belonged both to adults, and cubs. Minimal number of brown bear individuals (MNI) was 11. The performed osteological analysis shows, that the cave was used as brown bear wintering site as well as the place where females gave birth to the cubs, possibly the cave was used by other carnivores as the occasional shelter during the Late Pleistocene. Dating of a brown bear bone sample places the sedimentation of the Late Pleistocene layer into the period 47 000–43 000 years BP (MIS 3).

Bones of badger (Meles meles, 28 % of determined bones) dominated in the Holocene layer (upper finding layer, ie. upper layer containing animal bones) of the Feryho tajná Cave. The cave at this time served mainly as a badger burrow, which was occasionally inhabited also by foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and wild cats (Felis silvestris). Sometimes the cave was used as a den by wolves too. Several bone pieces of hares (Lepus europaeus), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and red deer (Cervus elaphus) are the remains of prey of wolves and possibly foxes and badgers (in the case of hares). Finds of bones of domestic animals (sheep or goat, domestic pig and domestic cattle) in the Holocene layer suggest that Feryho tajná Cave has been used by humans from time to time, at least to discard garbage, perhaps to store food supplies. The occasional use of the cave by humans is also proved by the discovery of a ceramic vessel from the Bronze Age.

The Feryho tajná Cave is unique in the Moravian Karst in terms of the amount of bone remains of the brown bear and the minimum number of individuals from which the found bear bones come.


Martina Roblíčková, Moravian Museum, Historical Museum, Anthropos Institute, Zelný trh 6, 659 37 Brno, Czech Republic; mroblickova@mzm.cz
Jan Mrázek, Moravian Speleological Club r. a., Mikulčická 3, 627 00 Brno, Czech Republic; mraza@centrum.cz
Aleš Plichta, Masaryk University, Department of Geological Sciences of Faculty of Science, Kotlářská 267/2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic; plichta.ales@mail.muni.cz

Roblíčková, M., Mrázek, J., Plichta, , A., 2020: Jeskyně Feryho tajná a její fauna (Moravský kras, Česká republika). – Acta Mus. Morav., Sci. Geol., 105, 2, 250–275 (with English summary)
ISSN: 1211–8796