Heavy reliance on plants for Romanian cave bears evidenced by amino acid nitrogen isotope analysis

Naito, Y.I., Meleg, I.N., Robu, M., Vlaicu, M., Drucker, D.G., Wißing, C., Hofreiter, M., Barlow, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-5532-9458 and Bocherens, H., 2020. Heavy reliance on plants for Romanian cave bears evidenced by amino acid nitrogen isotope analysis. Scientific Reports, 10 (1): 6612. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Heavy reliance on plants is rare in Carnivora and mostly limited to relatively small species in subtropical settings. The feeding behaviors of extinct cave bears living during Pleistocene cold periods at middle latitudes have been intensely studied using various approaches including isotopic analyses of fossil collagen. In contrast to cave bears from all other regions in Europe, some individuals from Romania show exceptionally high δ15N values that might be indicative of meat consumption. Herbivory on plants with high δ15N values cannot be ruled out based on this method, however. Here we apply an approach using the δ15N values of individual amino acids from collagen that offsets the baseline δ15N variation among environments. The analysis yielded strong signals of reliance on plants for Romanian cave bears based on the δ15N values of glutamate and phenylalanine. These results could suggest that the high variability in bulk collagen δ15N values observed among cave bears in Romania reflects niche partitioning but in a general trophic context of herbivory.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Creators: Naito, Y.I., Meleg, I.N., Robu, M., Vlaicu, M., Drucker, D.G., Wißing, C., Hofreiter, M., Barlow, A. and Bocherens, H.
Publisher: Springer Nature
Date: December 2020
Volume: 10
Number: 1
ISSN: 2045-2322
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1038/s41598-020-62990-0DOI
1322070Other
Rights: © The Author(s) 2020. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 04 May 2020 10:06
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 10:06
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/39779

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