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Age determination of fossil bones from the Vindija Neanderthal site in Croatia.

Eva Maria Wild, Maja Paunovic, Gernot Rabeder, Ilse Steffan, Peter Steier

Abstract


Vindija cave in Croatia is famous for the Neanderthal bones found in layer G of its sediment profile. Radiocarbon dating has been performed mainly on this layer due to the great interest in its fossils. In addition to Neanderthal remains, the sediment in layer G contains bones from the cave bear. Cave bear bones are found also in other layers of the sediment profile and offer the possibility of studying the bears' evolutionary mode. Therefore, we tried to determine the time span covered by the entire profile. The U/Th age determination method was applied to cave bear bones from different layers of the profile. For the younger part of the profile, the U/Th ages were compared with the results of the (super 14) C and the amino-acid racemization method. The agreement of the different methods indicates that closed-system behavior can be assumed for the fossil bones from Vindija cave. From this finding it may be deduced that bones from the lower sediment layers are also closed systems and that the U/Th ages of these layers are reliable. This conclusion is corroborated by the stratigraphy of the cave profile.

Keywords


Carnivora;Fissipeda;Homo sapiens neanderthalensis;Ursidae;Ursus;Vindija Cave;Hominidae;Homo;Homo sapiens;Primates;amino acids;racemization;Th U;anthropology;cave environment;Theria;Eutheria;terrestrial environment;Croatia;organic acids;Southern Europe;Mammalia;archaeological sites;biostratigraphy;Chordata;Tetrapoda;Vertebrata;biochemistry;Pleistocene;upper Pleistocene;organic compounds;Europe;bones;Cenozoic;charcoal;Quaternary;C 14;carbon;dates;isotopes;radioactive isotopes;absolute age

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