Mineralization of teeth and bones of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) from the Biśnik Cave, Southern Poland

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Mineralization of teeth and bones of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) from the Biśnik Cave, Southern Poland

The studied bones and teeth of the cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) come from the Biśnik Cave, located in the Częstochowa Upland (Southern Poland). The specimens originate from different geological layers formed since the Odra Glaciation (250-270 thousand years BP). The fossilized bones and teeth were studied using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, FTIR spectroscopy, and INAA. They are built of recrystallized carbonate-rich apatite-(CaOH) and/or apatite-(CaOH). The teeth additionally contain some apatite-(CaF). The lack of collagen and minor REE contents suggest rapid burial and collagen decay in the early stage of diagenesis. The bones and teeth have only limited mineral infillings. In some teeth, Mn-Fe (hydroxy)oxides were found in the dentine canaliculi and in bones, some osteocyte lacunae contain Fe (hydroxy)oxides with admixture of Mn. In one bone specimen, calcite infillings are present in Haversian canals. The infillings formed during later stages of diagenesis and were succeeded by non-filled cracks.

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