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Leopard - Panthera pardus spelaea Bächler

  • Department for Natural Sciences, Geology, Geological past, fossil, Pleistocene, skeleton remains, Leopard

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Ice age leopard was widespread in Europe in earlier Pleistocene epoch. It belongs to feline family (Felidae) and is supposed to have become extinct 24000 years ago. On the basis of fossil findings from small caves it can be inferred that there was in them a sort of temporary shelter which was used for disposal of prey. Rare were fossil findings of this leopard in bigger caves since they were inhabited by larger predators such as bears, lions or humans. Examples of leopards from Vjetrenica are known in the world as best preserved and for the most complete skeletons of this kind, and are of highest importance in palaeontology. They were found in about two kilometers away from the entrance to Vjetrenica, near bear's lair. They are supposed to have drowned as a result of inrush of subterranean water. Fossil findings of these three examples are kept in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Palaeontology vertebrata collection depot.

The attested antiquity spanning from 29000 to 37000 years pinpoints the fact that they lived in earlier Pleistocene.

Availability 
The leopard is part of vertebrata collection which is kept in Palaeontology depot. It is accessible to scientific examinations in consultation with the Museum administration and curators.

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  • Department for Natural Sciences, Geology, Geological past, fossil, Pleistocene, skeleton remains, Leopard