Temporal range: middle to late Pleistocene
|Restoration of Arctodus simus|
The short-faced bear or bulldog bear (Arctodus) is an extinct genus of bear endemic to North America during the Pleistocene era about 1.8 million years ago (mya) to 11,000 years ago. At that time, Arctodus simus may have been one of the largest mammals that lived on land and ate meat.
Arctodus simus first appeared during the middle Pleistocene in North America, about 800,000 years ago. It became extinct about 11,600 years ago.
However, it lived mostly in southern areas, from northern Texas to New Jersey in the east; Aguascalientes, Mexico to the southwest; and with large concentrations in Florida.
Archaeologists first found fossils of the short-faced bear in the Potter Creek Cave in Shasta County, California. This animal might have been the largest carnivorous land mammal that ever lived in North America.
Archaeologists have found only one giant short-faced bear skeleton, in Indiana. It is famous because it was the biggest most-nearly complete skeleton of a giant short-faced bear ever found in America. The original bones are in Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History.
A recent study estimated the weight of six short-faced bear specimens. The largest was 957 kg (2,110 lb). This suggested that the bear was probably more bigger than scientists had thought. When it was standing on its hind (back) legs, the bear was 8–10 feet (2.4–3.0 m) tall.
One theory is that the short-faced bear was an active predator, attacking bison directly. Another theory is that it let faster predators make the kill, then bullied them off the carcass. This would mean it was a scavenger.
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