Bear-claw deep tracks in the Pleistocene at north of Praia do Cavalo, Odemira (Portugal)


  • Carlos Neto de Carvalho Serviço de Geologia do Município de Idanha-a-Nova, Geopark Naturtejo– Geoparque Mundial da UNESCO. Avenida Joaquim Morão, 6060-101, Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal; IDL – Instituto Dom Luiz – Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa. Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal.
  • João Belo Centro de Geociências da Universidade de Coimbra, Rua Sílvio Lima, Univ. Coimbra - Pólo II, 3030-790 Coimbra; FlyGIS - UAV Surveys



eolianite, bear tracks, claw imprints, SW Alentejo, Portugal


The Pleistocene coastal eolianite formations in Portugal have provided an unexpected ichnological record of moderate diversity and circumscribed abundance related with mammals and birds, particularly in SW Alentejo. Several large tracks attributed to bear were recently been found in a small inlet at north of Praia do Cavalo, not far from Longueira (Odemira), at Medo Tojeiro/Almograve Eolianite which is tentatively dated from MIS3-2? (about 30,000 years BP). They are organized in two trackways composed of possibly 10 tracks; tracks are not well preserved since they show different undertrack preservational variants, in coarse-grained sandstones. The strong variation of track length, the wide range of footprint length/width ratio, the sole impression of the claws and the non-recognized impression of the heel are possibly related with an animal walking up a steep dune slope; the speed estimation of 2,4 km/h contributes for this interpretation. Most of these large tracks show five-digit dragging prints and the inward rotation of the foot typical from bears. The digit prints are generally packed together which is a characteristic of brown bears. These are the first tracks tentatively attributed to bears in the Portuguese paleontological record and the first ever recorded in eolianite facies.