yucatan.svg  Underwater Cavern Houses Extinct Bears


Scientists specializing in the area of underwater archeology, have just unearthed what appear to be four complete skulls of the extinct Arctotherium – a kind of stout faced bear which vanished off the face of the planet over 11,000 years ago – 42 meters beneath the waves, in an underwater cave on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

The skulls, which measured between 25 and 30 centimeters, belonged to two adult bears – one male and one female – as well as two bears which had not yet reached adulthood. It is not known whether these bears were a family unit or not, and that answer is not likely going to be easy to find out from just the skulls of the bears. A team of scientists, led by Guillermo de Anda Alanis, from the Yucatan Autonomous University, unearthed these skulls when they were making a dive through the underwater caverns.

Along with the skulls of the bears, the team also uncovered the skeletons of five humans not too far away. As soon as the dating of the human skeletons has been completed, they will be able to ascertain if the two finds are related.

The discovery of the skulls will help to initiate a change of thinking when it comes to the biogeography of bears in the Americas – Arcotherium was believed to have only made its home in South America. The only living descendant of these prehistoric bears is the spectacled bear which makes its home in Venezuela.