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Steppe brown bear Ursus arctos “priscus” from the Late Pleistocene of Europe

Marciszak, Adrian, Schouwenburg, Charles, Lipecki, Grzegorz, Talamo, Sahra, Shpansky, Andrey, Malikov, Dmitriy, Gornig, Wiktoria
Quaternary international 2019
Pleistocene epoch, Ursus arctos, carnivores, climatic factors, cold, diet, steppes, teeth, Europe, North Sea
The steppe brown bear U. a. “priscus” is constant but not a common member of the Late Pleistocene paleocommunities. It is not distinct arctoid species, but a large brown bear ecomorph which lived in open environments. Instead to speleoid bears, which disappeared ca. 26-24 ka BP, arctoid bears, thanks to their ecological plasticity, were present in most of the European areas even during the cold phases. The size and diet of these bears were modified under the climate conditions and food availability.U. a. “priscus” cannot be distinguished genetically, but it differs metrically and morphologically. It was a big sized form with enlarged and broad cheek teeth. Late Pleistocene brown bears, especially those lived before the LGM were more carnivorous than the Holocene and recent brown bear. The steppe brown bear survived till the beginning of the Holocene, where the last relict populations lived around the Baltic and the North Sea decreasing in size and merging genetically with widely distributed Eurasian populations of U. a. arctos.