University of Bristol Spelæological Society

Radiocarbon dating of European Beaver (Castor Fiber L. 1958) from Gough's Cave provides evidence of population persistence over the Younger Dryas in Britain (UBSS Proceedings v.27(1))

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Marr,M., 2016. Radiocarbon dating of European Beaver (Castor Fiber L. 1958) from Gough's Cave provides evidence of population persistence over the Younger Dryas in Britain. UBSS Proceedings, 27(1) , pp 105-108 Download PDF.

Abstract: Rapid changes in climate have been shown to be strong drivers of biological evolution and the abrupt fluctuations between warm and cold periods observed over the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary are hypothesised to have had profound effects on mammal populations. In order to investigate the persistence of a typical warm-stage taxon, the Eurasian beaver (Castor fiber), in Britain over the Younger Dryas cold phase two specimens from the University of Bristol Speleological Society Museum (UBSSM) were radiocarbon dated. Age estimates of 12,386-11,836 cal BP and 11,989-11,405 cal BP suggest that beavers did indeed survive this brief cold phase in south-west England. These results suggest that Gough's Cave functioned as a micro-refugia for this species and represent the oldest directly dated beaver remains from Britain.

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