Friday, 25 January 2013

Vegetarian cave bear 'starved to death' during Ice Age

The mainly-vegetarian bear is likely to have starved during the Ice Age when its main source of food disappeared.
Carbon dating of cave bear bones suggests its extinction almost 30,000 years ago, coincided with major changes in the environment.
Professor Anthony Stuart, a Natural History Museum palaeontologist, and a colleague from the University of Vienna, used new radiocarbon dating of fossil remains from sites across Europe, to accurately establish the timing of the bear's disappearance.
The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) was found across much of Europe from Spain to the Urals but no further east suggesting it was unsuited to areas of extreme temperatures.
Despite weighing up to 1,000lbs the cave bear, unlike its modern day counterpart which eats fish, was entirely vegetarian and probably ran out of food as the climate cooled and vegetation disappeared.


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