Ural Federal University: Scientists Created a Plastic Skull of a Small Cave Bear

Employees of the paleoecology laboratory of the Institute of Ecology, Plants and Animals of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences together with the Department of Foundry Engineering and Hardening Technologies of Ural Federal University created a copy of the skull of a small cave bear from polyamide. This skull was found by paleontologists in the Imanai Cave (Bashkiria National Park) in 2015. The find is unique because the age of the original is about 35 thousand years, and there is a hole in the parietal part of the skull, which is an extremely rare evidence of ancient man hunting the small cave bear.

“The skull is very fragile, and its constant display and transportation adversely affects its preservation. The plastic replica, on the other hand, is made of durable material. It is needed for scientific and educational purposes. Scientists constantly have the need to measure this skull, look into the artificial hole, examine the edges of this hole, or simulate the act of hunting a cave bear,” explains the head of the research project, senior researcher at the Paleoecology Laboratory of the Institute of Ecology, Plants and Animals of the Ural Branch of RAS and the Laboratory of Natural Science Methods in Humanities at UrFU Dmitry Gimranov.

Mass production of plastic skulls can also be useful for museums and schools, the scientists note. In addition to modern animals, humans, dinosaurs and cave bears, skulls of other Pleistocene predators such as giant hyenas, cave lions and saber-toothed cats could be used.

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