New data from paleontological research in the Barová Cave (Moravian Karst)

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Acta Mus. Moraviae, Sci. Geol. 106 (2021), issue 2, pages 181-208

New data from paleontological research in the Barová Cave (Moravian Karst)

The Barová Cave is located in the central part of the Moravian Karst on the right slope of the Josefovské Valley between the villages of Adamov, Olomučany, Habrůvka and Babice nad Svitavou. The cave is the outflow part of the Býčí skála – Rudické propadání Cave System. Even since the discovery by A. Sobol in 1947, the cave has been known as an important paleontological site with well-preserved osteological remains of the late Pleistocene fauna. Until the end of the last century, two main periods of paleontological research took place in the cave. R. Musil worked here in 1958, then J. Svoboda with L. Seitl (1983–1986). A third paleontological survey was launched in 2011 as a landslide revealed new, unexplored fossiliferous sediments. Six test pits were dug during this research. This paper summarizes the results of the analysis of animal bones from part of one of these test pits, from sectors 0, 1 and R5 of the Under the Ladder test pit, which were later combined with previously published knowledge of bone material from sectors 2, 3, 4 and R4 of the Under the Ladder test pit. The bone finds of bear from spelaeus-group were the most abundant (94%) in the complete bone material from Under the Ladder test pit, with a large gap in abundance were followed by the bones of cave lion (2.8%), wolf (1.7%), cave hyena (0.5%), fox, wolverine, marten, horse, reindeer, red deer, chamois, hare, water vole, common vole, lemming, red-backed vole and also by the bones of two bird taxa –jackdaw and capercaillie. The bears from spelaeus-group were clearly dominant from MNI point of view too (MNI=77), bones of both adults and cubs were found. Barová Cave served mainly as a wintering ground for bears, large amount of bones lead us to suspect, that bears from spelaeus-group used this cave as favourite wintering habitat for at least thousands of years. The moderate but comparatively stable occurrence of gnawed or bitten bear bones suggests that the scavenging activity of cave lions, hyenas and wolves existed here, perhaps carnivores could exceptionally even try to hunt wintering cave bears. However, most of the cave bears, whose skeletal remains are now found in the Barová Cave, died of natural causes, probably from starvation during hibernation. There are also demonstrable traces of biting in bones of lions, hyenas and wolves, again presumably evidence of scavenging. Based on dating, it can be concluded that the Barová Cave was used by bears from spelaeus-group together with other animals approximately 50,000 to 35,000 years ago.


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., 2021: Nová data z paleontologického výzkumu v jeskyni Barové (Moravský kras). – Acta Mus. Morav., Sci. Geol., 106, 2, 181–208 (with English summary)
ISSN: 1211–8796