The short-faced bear is an extinct species of bear that ceased to exist around 12,500 BC. Also known by such names as giant bear, blunt bear, bulldog bear. Scientists are sure that it was one of the strongest and largest predators on the whole Earth for the entire period of its existence.
Origin of the species and description
The giant short-faced bear is related to the spectacled bear that lives in South America. They belong to the canine order, but they have a significant difference from other families of the series due to their strength and power. They live in the northern, as well as in some southern hemispheres of the Earth.
Absolutely all types of bears are omnivores. This means that they can eat various foods, both plant and animal origin, in some cases even carrion.
Description of the species
Bears have a strong, dense body with a very thick, warm, rough coat. They have four large paws, a short tail, small eyes, a short and thick neck. They are characterized by a heavy, but measured gait. Thanks to their strong claws, they can easily dig the ground, climb trees, and tear apart prey.
Video: Short-faced bear
The perception of various smells is very well developed in bears. This confirms the fact that they can pick up the smell of prey at a distance of about 2.5 km. Also, the bear has a very keen hearing, can crawl, swim, climb trees, run at a speed of about 50 km/h. But they cannot boast of sharp eyesight.
The number of teeth in bears depends on the species (mainly from 32 to 40). In frequent cases, the dental system can change due to age or individual changes.
Methods of communication of bears
Bears communicate using various body movements and sounds. Here, for example, at a meeting, bears stand on their hind legs and bring their heads to each other. With the help of the position of the ears, you can understand their mood, and with the help of smell, you can recognize a friend. A loud growl means that there is danger nearby and you need to be very careful. But hissing is a sign of big intentions.
Appearance and Features
Based on scientific research, the weight of a giant bear could reach 600 kg or even more than a ton ( 1500 tons), and height – 3 m. No matter how surprising it may sound, but standing on its hind legs, its height could be about 4.5 m. It was so strong that even the well-known grizzly bear could not be compared with it.
The coat of the bulldog bear was dark brown, long, thick and very warm. He had a remarkably good sense of smell and hearing. It is worth noting that the size of the males was much larger than the size of the females, in other words – sexual dimorphism (a term that implies a difference in physical features between females and males of the same biological species).
The body of the bulldog bear was very strong with rather long paws and strong claws, the muzzle was short, the fangs and jaw were massive. Thanks to his fangs, like a tiger, he could instantly deliver a fatal blow to his prey. It is worth adding that, unlike modern bears, he was not clubfoot. Absolutely everything was within his power.
He was the master of his territory. With the help of lateral teeth, the bear could cut the skin, bones, meat, tendons. As mentioned above, the giant had long limbs that allowed him to run very fast.
Where did the short-faced bear live?
The short-faced bear lived in North America (Alaska, Mexico, the United States of America) in the last era of the Pleistocene (in other words, the Ice Age). It ended about 12 thousand years ago. Together with it, the blunt bear ceased to exist, and most of the animals that lived in those places.
The following weather conditions were mainly characteristic of the Pleistocene era:
- Alternation of relatively warm and very cold periods (the appearance of glaciers);
- Fairly large changes in sea level (during the interglacial period it rose by 15 m, and during the ice age it fell to 100 – 200 m).
Due to its warm and long coat, the bear was not afraid of any frost. His habitat looked like a national African park, because the number of animals was incredibly large. Here is a list of several animals with which the short-faced bear lived and competed in the same territory:
- Different types of deer;
- Wild lions;
- Huge mammoths;
What did the short-faced bear eat?
Behind the way of eating food, the short-faced bear was an omnivore. The term “omnivorous” means “to eat a variety of foods”, “everything is”. From this we can conclude that animals with this type of diet can eat food not only of plant origin, but also of animal origin, and even carrion (dead remains of animals or plants). This has its advantages, because such animals are unlikely to die of hunger, because they can find food in any place.
Basically, the short-faced bear ate the meat of mammoths, deer, horses, camels and other herbivores. Also, he liked to compete and take prey from weaker predators. Victory almost always went to him, because he had incredibly large fangs and a mouth to grab. We can conclude that they were an excellent hunter.
Due to its excellent sense of smell, the blunt bear could smell the smell of a dead animal from several thousand kilometers away. Basically, he went to the smell of a woolly mammoth, and with pleasure ate his bone marrow, which was with a lot of protein. But such cases were extremely rare. Defeating a live mammoth was a very difficult task for a short-faced bear due to its huge growth and long trunk. One such huge predator had to eat about 16 kg of meat per day, which is almost 3 times more than a lion needs.
The packs had one such law: “You need to kill, if not want to be killed.” But for a short-faced bear, he was not terrible, because he was a strong opponent who was not inferior to anyone with his strength.
Character and Lifestyle Features
Most children, and even adults, imagine the image of a bear from a fairy tale as a kind, sweet and friendly animal. But in reality they are quite different. Therefore, at this point you can find out the character traits using the example of a giant short-faced bear.
In character and lifestyle, it differed from most predators. According to experts, most short-faced bears lived and hunted alone. They didn't form in packs. The character of the bulldog bear differed from other animals in its enormous endurance. For example, he could run for a long time without stopping for long distances at the speed of the wind.
They also possessed an imperious and leadership character, which, probably, served the fact that they could not be together in the same flock. The short-faced bear loved freedom and complete independence, therefore he preferred wide, spacious places, and did not like it when someone entered his territory. And if someone dared to do this, then the animal woke up aggression and irritability, which could provoke him to kill.
Another pronounced character trait of a bulldog bear is stubbornness. For example, if he wants to take prey from an opponent, he will fight to the last, but he will get what he wants.
Social structure and reproduction
The short-faced bear is a solitary animal. He treated males with extreme caution and respect, but during the mating season he could attack another without any reason. The short-faced bear had already reached puberty at the age of three, but continued to develop and grow until about eleven years old.
When the period came to mating with a female, he sought and protected her from danger. In females, estrus lasted from May to July, about 20 – 30 days, just like in females of other species. Pregnancy had a duration of 190 – 200 days. Basically, childbirth occurred even when the female was in hibernation. And she gave birth to 3 – 4 bear cubs weighing 800 grams, and about 27 cm tall.
Basically, in a month they began to see clearly. At 3 months, the cubs already had all their milk teeth cut through. After 2 years, the mother left her children, and they embarked on a wandering lifestyle. A year later, the female began the next offspring. Males never raised their cubs, and could even be dangerous for their lives.
Natural enemies of the short-faced bear
You already know that the short-faced bear had great strength, so in fact he did not have a single enemy. On the contrary, he was an enemy to other animals. The only case when his life could be in danger was the attack of huge packs: saber-toothed cats, lions. But still, it could happen that his blow to one of the pack could scare away the others.
But, scientists believe that a person could be his enemy. After all, their disappearance is repeatedly associated with the appearance of man on Earth. The intellect of man was so cleverly developed that the strength of a huge animal could not be compared with it. Proof of this is the research of specialists who found deep cuts on the remains of the animal's bones.
Population and species status
Short-faced bears, today, are considered extinct animals. According to experts, they died out towards the end of the glaciation. One of the reasons is climate change, which led to the disappearance of other large predators (mammoths, primitive wolves, lions, etc.), which were part of their main diet. To survive, the bear needed at least 16 kg of meat, and in such conditions it was simply impossible.
Another reason is the processes on Earth that began to form in connection with warming. It is believed that one of the most terrible traps for all animals was a viscous tar lake, which was formed from a molten chemical substance, and rose to the surface from the very bowels of the Earth. It was hidden under various coverings of leaves and plants. If the animal stepped there, it meant that there was no turning back. The stronger the animal resisted, the deeper the lake sucked the caught prey. Therefore, the animals died in terrible agony.
Today there are several documentaries about him, and even in the museum there is an installation of his body in full growth, the remains of his bones, the representation of movements. It is very sad that many animals cease to exist due to various events. And basically, the reason for this is human activity, which negatively affects the lives of animals. Therefore, we must carefully and respectfully treat the entire wild world of nature.
At the end of the article, I want to summarize the article. Undoubtedly, the short-faced bear was a very interesting animal, which, with its strength and endurance, surprises every person who learns about it. It was a predator, the owner of his territory with a strong and very domineering character. The short-faced bear was much stronger and more enduring than modern bears, so it will go down in history as one of the most gigantic predators on Earth.