Molar of the extinct Cave Bear
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Habitat and weight of the cave bear
The cave bear (ursus speleus) was a bear species that lived in the Pleistocene. They lived in large parts of Europe. From England to the Caucasus. About 24,000 years ago they got extinct during the last ice age. The cave bear was no less than 3.5 metres tall when it stood on its hind legs and weighed 450 kg. That is three times as heavy as the current brown bear.
What did a cave bear eat?
The cave bear looked dangerous, but was largely a herbivore, which can be seen on the molars. It does seem that the cave bear ate opportunistically smaller animals or insects. The dangerous front teeth were mainly used in fights with other bears. As the name suggests, the bears lived in caves.
Cave bear and the first humans
The first humans lived at the same time as the cave bears. A cave has been found in Switzerland where the skulls of cave bears were piled up against the wall. This leads to a theory that the cave bears may have been worshipped by the first humans. Although sceptics assume a more bloody motif.
Slovak cave bears
This tooth from the upper rear jaw area has been found in Smolenice in the Male Karpaty region in Slovakia. The fossils are about 40.000 years old.