STL Science Center

STL Science Center

07 April 2017

Today is Something Different

The diet of cave lions was much like the diet of modern lions in that these were large apex predators capable of subduing and preying upon equally large animals. Some of these lions have been found in the dens of bears, suggesting that they were capable of taking bears but that some may have perished in the act; conversely, these remains found in bear caves may have been successful and commandeered the cave for itself. Other known prey items included bison, reindeer (as seen previously), and even saiga antelope; a family of Eurasian antelope that possess rather well insulated nasal passages. Despite never being mentioned, the human imagination likes to imagine that all apex predators would like to get a good meal of human flesh and therefore there are indeed illustrations, like the one below, that shows a "caveman" returning with dinner to find a cave lion devouring his female partner. Be very careful in showing this image as it has no real basis in the evidence we have of cave lion diet or their interactions with humans.

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