The European Cave Bear or Ursus spelaeus existed during two different ice ages and is one of the best known mammals of the Ice Age. It had a heavily built body with a large head, domed skull, steep forehead, and small eyes. The build of its body was similar to that of a grizzly bear. As fearsome-looking as it was (up to 10 feet long and 1,000 pounds), the Cave Bear subsisted mostly on plants, seeds and tubers, as paleontologists can infer from the wear patterns on its fossilized teeth. As devastating an impact as Homo sapiens ultimately had on Ursus spelaeus, early humans possessed enormous respect for the Cave Bear. At the start of the 20th century, paleontologists excavated a Swiss cave containing a wall stacked with Cave Bear skulls, and caves in Italy and southern France have also yielded tantalizing hints of early Cave Bear worship.
In recent years, cave bear remains have become harder and harder to find as the primary source of the fossils (mining operations in Romania) have begun to shut down. This specimen was found during our recent trip to the Tucson Gem and Mineral show and it is one of the more interesting specimens we have ever run across. We often think of fossils as very old if not ancient relics of the past. The juxtaposed concepts of a juvenile jaw bone and a fossil make this one of the coolest specimens we have ever received. Due to the short supply of cave bear remains, it’s unknown if and when we will be able to procure another.
This is a unique, one of a kind, fossil. Once this item is sold, we will not be about to acquire an exact replacement. All Paxton Gate specimens are guaranteed to be of the highest quality; sourced from ethical vendors and private collectors around the world.