Enlarge / My, what massive tooth you might have. (credit score: NEFU)
Reindeer herders on the Siberian island of Bolshoy Lyakhovsky just lately stumbled throughout the frozen carcass of a cave bear. Close by, on the Siberian mainland of Yakutia, a tiny, fantastically preserved cave bear cub just lately emerged from one other patch of melting permafrost. It’s the primary time in 15,000 years that people have come nose to nose with a cave bear within the flesh—till now, we’ve recognized the species solely from bones, tracks, and deserted nests.
The bear requirements
Lots of our ancestors knew cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) all too effectively. At Denisova Collapse Siberia’s Altai Mountains, about 3,600km (2,200 miles) from Bolshoy Lyakhovsky Island, a 2019 research of coprolites (fossil poop) and historic DNA blended into the cave sediment discovered that bears had lived within the cave on and off for round 300,000 years, in all probability alternating with the Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo sapiens who additionally lived there at numerous occasions.
In truth, most cave bear fossils have been discovered inside caves, and paleontologists suppose these bears in all probability lived within the caves full-time, fairly than simply popping in for a fast four-month nap. Throughout Europe and Asia, bears and other people in all probability competed for a similar actual property for round 300,000 years; it in all probability wasn’t a lot of a contest, although. These lumbering Ice Age giants stood 3.5 meters (11.5 ft) excessive once they reared up on their hind legs, and the most important males weighed as much as 600 kilograms (1,320 kilos). That’s concerning the dimension of a big polar bear or Kodiak bear at this time. You wouldn’t need to meet one in a darkish cave.Learn eight remaining paragraphs | Feedback
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