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C0048076-Extinct Cave Bear-SPL

A attacking cave bear.

Cave Bear! The massive beast, feared and worshipped by early man! Pachycrocuta! The giant hyena, with mighty jaws able to snap elephant bones! WHO.....IS....DEADLIEST!?!?!?


Cave Bear! The massive beast, feared and worshipped by early man! Daeodon ! The slaughtering machine who was untouchable by nearly every other predator! WHO.....IS....DEADLIEST!?!?!?






Cave Bear

Range

Europe

Size

Height: Males on all fours are 5 feet (1.5 m) at the shoulder, stand at 8 feet (2.4 m)


Weight: Males weighed in at 1,500 lbs (680 kg)

Prey

Largly herbivorous, although, being a bear, cave bears did eat meat from time to time

Weapons

Strong jaws, sharp teeth, claws

Battle Status

defeated by daeodon, will fight Pachycrocuta

DescriptionEdit

The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) was a species of bear that lived in Europe during the Pleistocene and became extinct at the beginning of the Last Glacial Maximum about 27,500 years ago.

Both the name cave and the scientific name spelaeus derive from the fact that fossils of this species were mostly found in caves, indicating that this species spent more time in caves than the brown bear, which only uses caves for hibernation. Consequently, in the course of time, whole layers of bones, almost entirely those of skeletons, were found in many caves.

The cave bear's range stretched across Europe, from Spain to Eurasia, from Italy and Greece to Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain, across a portion of Germany through Poland, then south into Hungary, Romania and parts of Russia, Caucasus and northern Iran. There have been no traces of cave bears living in northern Britain, Scandinavia or the Baltic countries, which were covered in extensive glaciers at the time. The largest numbers of cave bear remains have been found in Austria, Switzerland, southern Germany, northern Italy, northern Spain, Croatia, Hungary, and Romania. The huge number of bones found in south, central and east Europe has led some scientists to think that Europe may have once had literal herds of cave bears. Some however point out that though some caves have thousands of bones, they were accumulated over a period of 100,000 years or more, thus requiring only two deaths in a cave per year to account for the large numbers.

The cave bear had a very broad, domed skull with a steep forehead. Its stout body had long thighs, massive shins and in-turning feet, making it similar in skeletal structure to the brown bear.[[|[3]]] Cave bears were comparable in size to the largest modern day bears. The average weight for males was 400–500 kilograms (880–1102 pounds), while females weighed 225–250 kg (496–551 lbs).[[|[4]]] Of cave bear skeletons in museums, 90% are male due to a misconception that the female skeletons were merely "dwarfs". Cave bears grew larger during glaciations and smaller during interglacials, probably to adjust heat loss rate.[[|[5]]] Cave bears of the last ice age lacked the usual 2–3 premolars present in other bears; to compensate, the last molar is very elongated, with supplementary cusps.[[|[6]]] The humerus of the cave bear was similar in size to that of the polar bear, as were the femora of females. The femora of male cave bears, however, bore more similarities in size to those of kodiak bears.

Cave bear teeth show greater wear than most modern bear species, suggesting a diet of tough materials. However, tubers and other gritty food, which cause distinctive tooth wear in modern brown bears, do not appear to have constituted a major part of cave bears' diet on the basis of dental microwear analysis.

The morphological features of the cave bear chewing apparatus, including loss of premolars, have long been suggested to indicate that their diets displayed a higher degree of herbivory than the Eurasian brown bear.[[|[8]]] Indeed, a solely vegetarian diet has been inferred on the basis of tooth morphology.[[|[9]]] Results obtained on the stable isotopes of cave bear bones also point to a largely vegetarian diet in having low levels of nitrogen-15 and carbon-13,[[|[10]]][[|[11]]] which are accumulated at a faster rate by meat eaters as opposed to herbivores.

However, some evidence points toward inclusion of at least occasional animal protein in the cave bear diet. For example, toothmarks on cave bear remains in areas where cave bears are the only recorded potential carnivores suggests occasional cannibalistic scavenging,[[|[12]]][[|[13]]] possibly on individuals that died during hibernation, and dental microwear analysis indicates that the cave bear may have fed on a greater quantity of bone than its contemporary, the smaller Eurasian brown bear.[[|[14]]] Additionally, cave bear remains from Peştera cu Oase in the southwestern tip of the Carpathian mountains had elevated levels of nitrogen-15 in their bones, indicative of an omnivorous diet,[[|[11]]][[|[15]]] although the values are within the range of those found for the strictly herbivorous mammoth.[[|[16]]]

Although the current prevailing opinion concludes that cave bears were largely herbivorous, and more so than any modern species of the genus Ursus,[[|[17]]] increasing evidence points to an omnivorous diet, based both on regional variability of isotopic composition of bone remains indicative of dietary plasticity,[[|[11]]][[|[15]]] and on a recent reevaluation of its craniodental morphology that places the cave bear squarely among omnivorous modern bear species with respect to its skull and tooth shapes.

Collections of bear bones at several widely dispersed sites suggest that Neanderthals may have worshipped cave bears, especially at Drachenloch, in Switzerland, where a stone chest was discovered with a number of bear skulls stacked upon it.

(info from Wikipedia)

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