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This bear could run at 30 or 40 miles per hour, at least in short sprints, and could rear up to its full height of 12 or 13 feet to intimidate prey. Megafauna Extinctions - What (or Who) Killed All the Big Mammals. A prehistoric South American giant short-faced bear tipped the scales at up to 3,500 pounds (1,600 kilograms) and towered at least 11 feet (3.4 meters) standing up, according to a new study. The species first appeared roughly 800,000 years ago in what is now the United States, and soon spread in Canada. These giants were slow and awkward moving. Giant short-faced bears lived in Minnesota and the open country west of the Mississippi River and north to Yukon and Alaska. Indeed, on average they were 25% smaller than males. Giant Short-faced Bear. The cut … Bob Strauss is a science writer and the author of several books, including "The Big Book of What, How and Why" and "A Field Guide to the Dinosaurs of North America. Researchers were puzzled at first – what was a giant short-faced bear doing so far away from its known range on the California mainland? Some estimates exceed a ton. It has become well known in scientific circles because it was the most nearly complete skeleton of a giant short-faced bear found in America. There were two species of Short-Faced Bears; Arctodus pristinus and Arctodus simus. The short-faced bear was the largest and most powerful land carnivore in North America during the ice age. Compared to those which live now, it would have much longer legs and a much wider mouth. PO Box 161 2010; Meloro 2011; Sorkin 2006). February 3, 2011 / 11:49 AM / CBS News The South American giant short-faced bear in comparison to a person. Genetically very similar to the Arctotherium genus, the giant short-faced bear is one of the few species that dared to rival the Arctotherium in size as well. Its closest relatives are the extinct Florida spectacled bear, and the giant short-faced bears of the Middle to Late Pleistocene age (Arctodus and Arctotherium). The giant short-faced bear (also referred to as the bulldog bear) lived in North America from approximately 1.8 million years ago until about 11,000 years ago. They lived from 1.6 million to 11,000 years ago alongside giant ground sloths, mammoths and, near the end of the Ice Age, the first Native Americans to enter Iowa. The short-faced bear ranged over the high grasslands of western North America, from Mexico to Alaska and Yukon. During the Ice Age, for example, giant short-faced bears that weighed up to 1,800 pounds (816 kg) roamed North America. These bears were nearly 1.5 metres high when walking normally, but stood about 3.4 metres tall when on their hind legs. Ely, MN 55731, (218) 365-7879 However, this apparent shortness is an illusion caused by their deep snouts and short nasal regions. Archaeologists first found fossils of the short-faced bear in the Potter Creek Cave in Shasta County, California. The scientific name of the genus, Arctodus, derives from the Greek languageand means "bear tooth". One theory is that Arctodus simus was essentially a loafer, popping up suddenly after another predator had already hunted and killed its prey, driving the smaller meat-eater away, and digging in for a tasty (and unearned) meal, much like a modern African hyena. It had a very broad flat face and a very powerful means to bite. Its short, broad snout had a huge nasal passage, which probably means it had a keen sense of smell and could inhale great volumes of oxygen while pursuing prey. Giant short faced bears went extinct about 12 thousand years ago. Help support our mission. (877) 365-7879 These bears were nearly 1.5 metres high when walking normally, but stood about 3.4 metres tall when on their hind legs. At that time, Arctodus simus may have been one of the largest mammals that lived on land and ate meat. When standing on all four feet, it was about five or six feet high at its shoulder. Ice age short-faced bears were the largest mammalian land carnivore to ever live in North America. These bears were nearly 1.5 metres high when walking normally, but stood about 3.4 metres tall when on their hind legs. Their closest living relative is the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), which lives among the trees in the mountainous regions of western and northern South America. What I find most impressive … Because nearly as many fossil specimens don't represent the Giant Short-Faced Bear as the Cave Bear, there's still a lot we don't understand about its everyday life. Genetically very similar to the Arctotherium genus, the giant short-faced bear is … Although it ranged across the expanse of North America, Arctodus simus was particularly plentiful in the western part of the continent, from Alaska and the Yukon Territory down to the Pacific coast as far as Mexico. 1. Was the giant short faced bear only a bully scavenger? The giant short-faced bear (Arctodus Simus) was among the most terrifying predators ever to appear on the North American continent. It probably could run over 40 miles per hour despite weighing over 1500 pounds. Giant Short-faced Bear. Image from Dantheman9758 on the Wikimedia Commons. Prehistoric Bones Found of Largest-Ever Bear. (A second Arctodus species, the smaller A. pristinus, was restricted to the southern part of North America, the fossil specimens of this lesser-known bear being discovered as far afield as Texas, Mexico, and Florida.) It may have weighed about 700 kg (1,540 lb.). With over 100 fossil locations discovered in North America, it ranged from Alaska to Mexico and from the Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast, including Florida. Their front paws were equally strange: each front paw had two extra-long fingers with large claws. Unlike pigeon-toed modern bears, its toes pointed straight forward, enabling it to walk with a fast, purposeful gait. Spectacled bears are the only surviving species of bear native to South America, and the only surviving member of the subfamily Tremarctinae. Archeologists estimate most giant short-faced bears, including females, to weigh 1600 to 1900 pounds. Although it's often described as the largest bear that ever lived, the Giant Short-Faced Bear (Arctodus simus) didn't quite measure up to either the modern Polar Bear or to its southern counterpart, Arctotherium. This large male specimen probably weighed close to a ton, which is more than twice what the Bear Center’s resident adult male Ted weighs. Not really. Help support the North American Bear Center. Today, a team of researchers from the University of Oklahoma, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the University of Oregon and others report the first occurrence of the extinct giant short-faced bear, Arctodus simus, from the California Channel Islands. Having lived from 800,000 to 12,500 years ago, during the ice age, Arctodus simus is believed to have evolved from Plionarctos, the oldest known genus of the subfamily Tremarctinae. - A new record of giant short-faced bear, Arctodus simus, from western North America with a re-evaluation of its paleobiology. Giant short-faced bears lived in Minnesota and the open country west of the Mississippi River and north to Yukon and Alaska. Like with modern bears, female giant short faced bears were much smaller than the males. Its skull and shearing type of teeth indicate a highly carnivorous way of life. The giant short-faced bear, Arctodus simus, was an extremely large bear that occupied much of North America throughout the Pleistocene. They probably scavenged and preyed upon large herbivores such as bison, muskoxen, deer, caribou, horses, and ground sloths. This characteristic is also shared by its extant relative the spectacled bear. If these giant short-faced bears were alive today, while they would be the world's tallest bears, the polar bear would still be the heaviest. The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) gets more attention, but the giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus) was the more serious ursine menace of Pleistocene North America. A close relative, the lesser short-faced bear (Arctodus pristinus) lived near the Atlantic coast and in Mexico. Contemporaneous with Arctodus simus, there was also a related genus of short-faced bear native to South America, Arctotherium, the males of which may have weighed as much as 3,000 pounds--thus earning the South American Giant-Short Faced Bear the coveted title of Biggest Bear Ever. Tests of bone samples show a very high ratio of nitrogen-15 to nitrogen-14, a nitrogen “signature” that indicates a true carnivore. This fearsome beast—weighing by some estimates 2,000 lbs. The short-faced bear lived in the high grasslands west of the Mississippi, from Alaska to Mexico. In fact, they had leaner body structure with longer and more slender limbs compared to today’s brown bears. It was a South American giant short-faced bear (Arctotherium angustidens), the earliest and largest member of its genus (its group of species of bears). They weighed as much, or more, than the short-faced bear at 1 tonne and stood 3 metres tall, growing to the size of an ox. The only living relative of the short-faced bears is the spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) of South America. It was a carnivore, which means it ate meat, and was also probably a scavenger as well as killing its own prey. Dramatic environmental changes associated with global cooling since the late Miocene, and the onset of glacial-interglacial cycles in the Pleistocene served as a backdrop to the evolutionary radiation of modern bears (family Ursidae). Stay up to date with what’s happening at the North American Bear Center! It may have weighed about 700 kg (1,540 lb.). Elsewhere (see related posts below) we have discussed the Giant Short-faced bear (GSFB), Arctodus simus, the great bear from the Ice Age that lived across North America. As formidable as these legendary carnivores were, all would have given way to the short-faced bear. Body size. The Giant Short-Faced Bear was built for speed with it's elongated legs, and feet facing forward it could run great distances. They could have had a vertical reach of more than 4.3 metres. The GSFB is the largest mammalian Carnivore known, but just how big was it? ", The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Indiana, Prehistoric Life During the Pleistocene Epoch, The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Oregon, Giant Mammal and Megafauna Pictures and Profiles, Prehistoric Marsupial Pictures and Profiles, The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of New York, Overview of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Kentucky, 10 Prehistoric Battles That Could (and Probably Did) Happen, The Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals of Idaho. Ice age short-faced bears were the largest mammalian land carnivore to ever live in North America. Unlike the cave bear, Arctodus simus preferred meat to vegetables. Archaeologists have found only one giant short-faced bear skeleton, in Indiana. The original bones are in the Field Museum, Chicago. These bears were much taller than grizzly bears , but not so heavily built. It is famous because it was the biggest most-nearly complete skeleton of a giant short-faced bear ever found in … Ice age short-faced bears were the largest mammalian land carnivore to ever live in North America. The Giant Short-Faced Bear was built for speed with it's elongated legs, and feet facing forward it could run great distances. The Giant Short-faced Kangaroo had a flat face and forward-pointing eyes. - S. D. Emslie & N. J. Czaplewski - 1985. Two views of the short-faced bear toe recovered Daisy Cave, San Miguel Island, California Channel Islands (University of Oregon #514-6778). Contemporaneous with Arctodus simus, there was also a related genus of short-faced bear native to South America, Arctotherium, the males of which may have weighed as much as 3,000 pounds--thus earning the South American Giant-Short Faced Bear the coveted title of Biggest Bear Ever. 2011 / 11:49 AM / CBS News the South American giant short-faced bear an! 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