The bear necessities

TwilightBeasts

Reconstruction of a European Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus) by Sergiodlarosa Reconstruction of a European Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus) by Sergiodlarosa (Image from here)

Humans and bears have a strange relationship. On the one hand we see them as lovable, smart, curious creatures (think Baloo from the Jungle Book). On the other, we have taken great pains to exterminate them wherever and whenever we could. Thankfully, no bear species has gone extinct for over 10,000 years (although many subspecies have been lost). During the Pleistocene, the old world was home to a complex of species that may have been amongst the biggest of bears. The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) was perhaps the first Twilight Beast to be studied in a scientific sense, thanks to the millions of bones the animal left behind in caves throughout Europe and Asia, the legacy of many individuals who failed to survive hibernation. Thought to have inspired legends of dragons that lived in…

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