Juan Labranz cave: a Quaternary deposit in the central Iberian Peninsula

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Here we report the preliminary results from the 2015–19 s prospecting explorations, excavations, and research from Juan Labranz Cave, a new Quaternary palaeontological deposit rich in mammals that offers information on the faunal context of the southern sub-plateau. This cave is located on the border of the Iberian range, at the Sierra de Valdecabras, Cuenca, at 1.279 metres above sea level. This study includes the first georeferenced digital map of the cave and a preliminary analysis of its chronology, palynology, macro- and microvertebrate palaeontology, and taphonomy. The cave is interpreted as a hyena den, and this would represent one of the highest elevation cavities where the activity of this taxon is recorded. Moreover, we consider this site important and unique because it constitutes one of the very few Pleistocene cave sites in the southern sub-plateau. It is strategically located on the border between the Iberian range and the Tajo Tertiary Basin, at the Júcar River valley, which represents the only great natural corridor that covers hundreds of kilometres and connects two very important palaeoecological areas, the interior of the Iberian Peninsula and the Mediterranean basin.
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