Fossilised Cave Bear Finger Bone ursus spelaeus
This fossilised Cave Bear finger bone is in excellent condition. It dates back to the Late Pleistocene period, and comes from the Carpathian Mountains, in Romania.
The Cave Bear ursus spelaeus has been extinct for 24,000 years, they lived in Europe and also in Asia. This was a very large species of bear, one that is comparable in size to the polar bear. Large males would have weighed in the region of 450 kilos, been up to 3.5 metres tall on their hind legs. These were powerful animals and young healthy animals would have had few if any natural predators.
Because bears chose to hibernate in caves, during dormancy in severe glacial winters many didn’t survive. The fossil remains of those that died during dormancy are in an excellent state of preservation. The cave bears diet was thought to have been largely vegetarian. Over the course of time their teeth gradually evolved for this largely plant based diet. Brown Bears and Cave bears made use of caves for hibernation, Cave Bears however are thought to have spent time in caves all year round. In one cave systems in Romania excavations show the remains of well over one hundred bears and bear cubs. Fittingly this particular cave now has the name ‘Bear Cave’.