Cave Bear

Was a species of bear which was related to the brown bear or grizzly bear of modern times. It lived and ranged in Europe and went extinct about the end of the ice age, which ended about 20 thousand years ago.

Fossils of the bear were found primarily in caves, which is where the bear got its name.

It was half again as large as a brown bear, and probably spent a great deal more time in caves than its modern counterpart,  the Brown bear, which uses them to hibernate and very little else.

The Cave bear was an omnivore, eating carrion, smaller animals and grass as well as berries. It apparently ate only vegetation in the summer.

The climate changes which took place at the end of the Ice age changed the plant life to the extreme, however since it had happened prior to then, it was not out of the question that Cave Bear extinction was among the first to be attributable to human intervention.

cavebear Cave Bear
Cave Bear Skull

found in caves show that although the bears were hunted very extensively, particularly by the hunters of the Paleolithic period, it was not them solely who ended the existence of the Cave Bear.

They were greatly affected also by the forests drawing back in the glacial periods. The cold did not provide enough food for them and they ended up dying out.

Suspicions are that Cave Bears were worshipped by some of the earlier hunter gatherers, because altars and shrines to the bears have been found holding carvings of what is presumed to be a bear.

In 1985, a hunter discovered the skeletons of over 100 cave bears in a cave in Romania.
In June of 2005, California DNA specialist succeeded in decoding the DNA of a cave bear skull that had lived about 40 thousand years ago.

This is the very first time that researchers have been able to sequence the DNA of an extinct species which has been gone for so long. They succeeded in mapping the DNA in its entirety.

Find out more about the Cave Bear over at Wikipedia »

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