Skulls Found in Caves Shed Light on Extinct Ibex Species

June 22, 2012 / Spain, Europe
Comparison between the extinct Ibex (left) and a modern Ibex (right)

Photo by José Antonio Peñas/SINC

Scientists studying the skulls of an extinct species of ibex have revealed that the wild goats were 50% bigger than their modern cousins.

The skulls of two male and one female Ibex were discovered by members of the Speleological Group of Estella (Navarra) and Pedraforca (Barcelona) in 1984 and 1994 during explorations inside the southern Pyrenees karst caves.

The specimens were recently studied by Ricardo García-González, researcher at the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology, who used them to shed light on the size and origin of the species, as well as environmental conditions from when they lived, between 4,000 and 7,000 years ago.

The results of the study have been published in a report, entitled “New Holocene Capra pyrenaica (Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Bovidae) skulls from the southern Pyrénées”, in the journal, Comptes Rendus Palevol.

Giant Ibex lived in the Southern Pyrenees after the Ice Age [AlphaGalileo]

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