Fossil bear was a vegetarian

Fossil bear was a vegetarian

Scientists have found that diet generalscope bear that lived in Europe millions of years ago, consisted mainly of plants and the diet of his descendants, extinct only 15 thousand years ago, cave bears.

At the end of the Pleistocene (125-12 thousand years ago) in Europe was infested with two species of bears: Ursus arctos brown omnivorous and not extant cave bears Ursus spelaeus. The latter, unlike brown omnivorous, eating mainly plant foods, but scientists are still poorly represented, resulting in their vegetarianism; to judge it was difficult mainly because of the rarity of the remains of the ancestors of these bears, such as Ursus deningeri (generalscope bear).

This week in Historical Biology published an article describing the diet generalscope bear; a group of researchers from Germany and Spain have studied the structure of the jaws and teeth of U. deningeri found that these fossils of bears, as well as their descendants — the cave bears ate mostly plants.

Computer scanning of the remains of U. deningeri allowed virtual clean jaws and teeth from the mud without damaging the fossil, and to compare their shape with the shape of the jaws and teeth of cave bears and modern.

Bears, U. deningeri appeared at least 500 million years of cave bears, and thus the separation of herbivores and omnivores among the European representatives of the family bear also appeared on the five hundred million years earlier.