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Despite newspaper restorations of this bear rearing up on its back legs and snarling, Arctotherium angustidens was not a hypercarnivorous monster that fed exclusively on giant sloths and other large mammals. As found in a study by Soibelzon and Borja Figueirido, the skull and jaws of A.

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Broken teeth hint that Arctotherium angustidens often chewed on bones, supporting the idea that it ate animal matter, but overall it probably had a more cosmopolitan diet like that of modern grizzly bears. As a predator, it was an opportunist that did not exclusively rely on meat to survive. The dietary flexibility of the giant South American bear makes its disappearance around , years ago all the more perplexing. Based upon its size and early arrival in South America, paleontologists used to think that Arctotherium angustidens was a very carnivorous bear that only had to compete with Smilodon for large prey.

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There were other predators around — such as jaguars, the fox-like Theriodictis , and the wolf Canis gezi — but these were in an entirely different weight class. It was only later, around the time that the giant bear disappeared, that other heavyweight predators evolved on the continent, and so it has been assumed that increased competition for prey did in A.

Yet, if the new analysis by Soibelzon and Figueirido is correct, then A. Nevertheless, we do know is that the largest of the Arctotherium species ate more meat than those the species that followed it. The ranges of each species in time are still being worked out, but Arctotherium angustidens was succeeded by A. Frustratingly, these species don't have common names, so you'll have to bear with me here. The skulls and jaws of each of these species were more like those of the spectacled bear, a living representative of the same bear sub-group which is almost entirely herbivorous, and these bears are thought to have included more plants into their diet while still scavenging meat when opportunities to do so arose.

Among the last of these bears, Arctotherium wingei may have even been as herbivorous as the living spectacled bear, but it is difficult to be sure since the only known skull is from a young individual and lacks the informative lower jaw. Together, the decrease in size and the apparent diet shift towards more plant food led Soibelzon and Figueirido to suggest that increasing pressure from other predators pushed Arctotherium towards a more herbivorous diet during the past , years, but we don't know for sure.

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There is much that remains unknown about the natural history of this almost entirely extinct group of bears. Today, only the spectacled bear carries on the legacy of the family which once included Arctotherium , Arctodus , and their kin - a modest relative of some of the biggest bears of all time. Top Image: Goliath during his later years, in the fall of From Flickr user The Rapscallion. Inferring palaeoecology in extinct tremarctine bears Carnivora, Ursidae using geometric morphometrics Lethaia, 43 2 , DOI: Soibelzon, L.

First report of a South American short-faced bears' den Arctotherium angustidens : palaeobiological and palaeoecological implications Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology, 33 3 , DOI: A skeleton reconstruction of Arctotherium, from Soibelzon and Schubert, A gallery of "short-faced bears. From Figueirido and Soibelzon, View Comments. Sponsored Stories Powered By Outbrain. More science. Author: Daniel Oberhaus Daniel Oberhaus. Tech in Two. Author: Stephen Witt Stephen Witt. A Fever Spreads. Author: Amanda Schaffer Amanda Schaffer.

Space Farms has some of the longest living wild animals in captivity, so they must be doing something right. I would hope the state would not let an institution like this abuse its animals for 85 years. At least I hope they would have. So if you plan on visiting, know that you are going to an 'old-school' zoo. That means you will find animals in cages or areas with cement flooring. If this is something that offends you, you might want to reconsider your trip.

It was very helpful! I just went on a trip and I told you about it because, well, I'm cool like that. Leave a Comment Filed under: family travel , new jersey , reviews. Newer Post Older Post.

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