Giant Short-Faced Bear Facts
Roaming the North American countryside up until about 11,000 years ago was a huge deadly animal that must have given our early ancestors nightmares. This beast was the
Giant Short-Faced Bear; it could look a 6 foot man in the eyes while standing on all fours and tower 7 feet above him when standing on its hind legs. One swipe of its
huge paw would bring instant death. Here we list interesting facts about this amazing extinct animal including what it looked like and theories about why it became
Interesting Giant Short-Faced Bear Facts
- 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.
- There were two species of Short-Faced Bears; Arctodus pristinus and Arctodus simus. Arctodus simus is the largest and is called the Giant Short-Faced Bear. It is one
of the biggest mammalian predators ever to roam the earth.
- This now extinct massive predator lived in North America across a wide range stretching from Alaska to as far south as Mississippi.
- They get their name, short-faced bear, due to the shape of their skulls. It appears from the skull that they had a short snout; but this was not the case.
- From fossil evidence it seems that this predator was most abundant in California.
- These bear's genus name, Arctodus, is derived from Greek and means "bear tooth".
- Around 800,000 years ago, during the Kansan glaciation, the Giant Short-Faced Bears became abundant in North America; in fact it became the most abundant bear in North
America for thousands of years.
- The first fossils of this species were discovered in Northern California at a site named Potter Creek Cave. In this limestone cave numerous fossils of various extinct
animals were unearthed.
- These huge bears were definitely carnivores and would have to have eaten 35 pounds (16 kilograms) of meat daily to survive. There is also evidence that they would eat
plants from time to time as do modern day bears.
- These animals were big but were also built for speed. It fact it is the fastest bear that ever existed. It is believed they could run up to 40 miles per hour (64.4
Kilometers per Hour).
- There are several theories on how the Giant Short-Faced Bear hunted. These bears could run very fast which might have enabled them to run down even fast prey such as
horses. However some experts believe its large size and inability to make sharp turns would have meant it would not be able to chase down most prey. These experts
suggest it may have waited for other predators like the Dire Wolf and American Lion to make a kill and then moved in scaring the other predators away and stealing
- Why did the Giant Short-Faced Bear become extinct? The answer is not known for certain but two main reasons are believed to have contributed to its extinction. The
first is that their extinction correlated with the mass extinction of many species which they depended on as a food source. At the end of the last ice age there was
what has been called a mega fauna extinction brought about by climate changes. The second reason that may have contributed to this animals demise was the fact that
humans were increasingly populating their habitats and as the humans hunting skills increased they were able to dominate the bears in the competition for limited food
Giant Short-Faced Bear Description
- Standing on all four legs its height would be 8 - 10 feet (2.44 - 3.05 meters).
- The Short-Faced Bear could stand up to 12 feet high when standing on its hind legs although 8 to 10 feet is believed to be more common.
- It is estimated that these extinct bears could weigh an amazing 1,984 pounds (900 kilograms). With at least one specimen estimated to weigh 2109 pounds (957
- The Giant Short-Faced Bear had feet that pointed forward, most bears have feet that point inward. This enabled it to run fast.
- This extinct predator had long sharp canine teeth along with several big sharp molars; perfect for ripping through the meat of its prey.