Eastern Europe, Cave Deposit of the Carpathian Mountains, Romania, from the Pleistocene, ca. 400,000 to 20,000 years ago. A pair of maxillae from the same animal - a complete right (the larger) and left maxillae from a cave hyena from the Carpathian Mountains of Romania. The massive bone-crushing molars show just how amazingly powerful this animal was in life. The Giant European Cave Hyena, Crocuta crocuta spelaea, was one of most dangerous and powerful of apex predators in the last Ice Age. Size of largest (right side): 4.25" W (10.8 cm)
Recent scientific studies reveal a fascinating and brutal former world that existed in the last Ice Age of Europe where cave hyenas hunted and fed on other cave hyenas, cave bears, cave lions and even humans such as Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons. They first appeared in Europe around 500,000 years ago and lived almost to the end of the last European Ice Age. Prehistoric European cave paintings have been found depicting them with spots, offering insight into what they may have looked like. They stood close to 40 inches high at the shoulders, and weighed 175 to 285 pounds. They were nocturnal apex predators who lived in caves and reared their young there. Cave floor deposits indicate a varied diet of deer, boar, horse, bison, woolly mammoth and woolly rhino. A recent discovery even indicates that, 65,000 years ago, one of them bit down on the face of a Neanderthal and partially digested two of the hominin's teeth!
Provenance: acquired in 2008 from Belgian private collection
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