The short-haired bear, the largest that ever existed: what were its impressive dimensions

Arctotherium. Illustration from Wikimedia Commons

It’s different in the animal kingdom species they can reach considerable dimensions and bears they are no exception. Among all the species, however, one really stands out colossusthe undisputed ruler of the era Pleistocene: L’Arctotherium angustidenscommonly known asshort-haired bear.

This extraordinary species isthe biggest bear that ever existed and far exceeds in both weight and size the current holder of the title of largest bear in the world: thethe kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi), a subspecies of brown bear that lives on the Kodiak Islands in Alaska.

Short-haired bear, the largest that ever existed

L’Arctotherium angustidenscommonly known as the South American short-faced bear, is a an extinct species of giant bear who settled South American continent during the Pleistocene. Characterized by impressive dimensionsThis bear is considered to be one of the largest terrestrial carnivores to have ever existed, even surpassing the size of modern polar bears. His remarkable figure and strong physical structure suggest a dominant predator in the Pleistocene ecosystem.

The property that distinguishes it is precisely its own short muzzle, a detail from which its name derives. This anatomy could have evolved precisely to suit the needs of man predominantly carnivorous diet. It was a true hunting machine, in fact it had robust limbs and claws that made it a formidable predator.

Characteristics and dimensions of the short-haired bear

A characteristic featureArctotherium angustidensexcept for his short muzzle, resides in his mammoth dimensions. in upright positioncould reach impressive heights of approx 3.4 m and the weight of an adult individual was estimated to be between 983 and 2042 kg. These traits elevated it to an apex predator in the Pleistocene ecosystem, dominating the landscape with its powerful presence. Compared withthe kodiak bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) will appear as a significantly smaller sized figure. When standing, it can reach a height of between 2.5 and 3.2 meterswhile the weight of adult males is between 450 and 680 kg. The difference between the two species is obvious because the Kodiak bear, while holding the role of the largest bear of our time, stands in stark contrast to the extraordinary sizes reachedArctotherium angustidens.

Origination and extinction

Arctotherium angustidensreigned in South America 1.5 million to 700,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene. It is believed that this species may have originated from North American ancestors who originally inhabited the vast plains of Nebraska and Texas. After the end of the last ice age and the opening of the Panama Canal, Arctotherium angustidens moved to South America and settled mainly in Argentina. Here he found a favorable habitatcharacterized by large expanses of savannah, wild plains and prairies, with forests and woodlands completing the landscape.

Despite its impressive size and role as an apex predator, Agriotherium angustidens he went to it to extinction because of the important ones climate and environmental change which characterized the transition from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene. These profound changes meant insurmountable challenges for adaptation and survival Agriotheriumleading to its inevitable demise.

Kodiak bear, the largest bear in the world

The Kodiak bear, scientifically known as Ursus arctos middendorffiIt is subspecies of brown bear (Ursus arctos) and holds the title of the largest brown bear in the world. The female this subspecies can weigh up to 350 kg, while males, especially in the period before hibernation, can exceed 600 kg. These bears are residents Aleutian Islands, a volcanic archipelago located near Alaska, characterized by volcanic peaks, including the majestic Shishaldin volcano, which reaches 2869 meters. The Aleutian environment is characterized by a harsh and rainy climate. Kodiaks live mostly at sea level during the seasons when salmon fishing is most favorable (June and July).

They then move to higher altitudes in August to feed on berries. Like many other bears, Kodiak is omnivorous but it indicates a predisposition opportunistadaptation to available resources. Compared to other bears, this subspecies exhibits a fondness for meat, taking advantage of the presence of large ungulates such as elk and deer in the densely populated Aleutian Islands. Moreover, their ability fishing during river salmon migration is a key element contributing to their widespread distribution on these islands.

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