Extinct Bears: Cave Bear

The cave bear, Ursus spelaeus, was one of the fiercest mammals in prehistoric Europe. It was highly regarded by many tribes and plays a big part in mythology.

It is believed that Cave Bear became extinct approximately 27,500 years ago.
I first came across the Cave bear when reading Jean M. Auel’s ‘Earth’s Children’ novels which are set in prehistoric times.

The cave bear is believed to have been quite a stocky animal with a broad domed skull and quite a steep forehead. They had long canine teeth that somewhat resemble ‘tusks’. It is said that the size and proportions of female cave bears resembled that of polar bears, but the males looked more like Kodiak bears.

The largest amounts of remains from this extinct bear have been found throughout parts of Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy Croatia, Hungary and Romania among other places. There have been a few fossilized remains found in Southern England, however none in the northern parts.

This bear got its name from the fact that most of the fossilised bones from it were found in caves, and was believed to spend even more time in caves than the Brown Bear does.

The male cave bears were believed to weigh around 500kg and the females 250kg, although nothing can be said for sure.

The teeth are the clue to what they would have eaten. The evidence from cave bear teeth suggests that they would have eaten a lot of tough or gritty foods, most likely meats.

The species that is thought to be most like the cave bear that is still alive today is thought to be the brown bear because they shared a common ancestor that lived around 1.3 million years ago.

May 30, 2010 · Maddia (Admin) · Comments Closed
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