Saltar apartados
  • UA
  • University News
  • Short-faced bears, largest carnivores in the Ice Age, became omnivores to survive

Short-faced bears, largest carnivores in the Ice Age, became omnivores to survive

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, conducted by the universities of Alicante and Málaga and the Natural History and La Brea Tar Pits museums of Los Angeles, USA

ArctodusSimus_Sergiodlarosa

Recreation of Arctodus simus. Source: Wikipedia (by Sergiodlarosa)

 

Alicante. Wednesday 14 March 2018

Based on the analysis of fossil teeth conducted by researcher Alejandro Romero, from the University of Alicante's Departament of Biotechnology, a study shows that short-faced bears (Arctodus simus), the largest carnivores in the Ice Age, became omnivores to survive. The study, led by the University of Málaga (UMA) researcher Borja Figueirido, was recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The scientific community previously thought that this extinct animal from North America was exclusively carnivorous, but, as pointed out by Mr Figueirido, “we dethroned the largest hypercarnivorous mammal ever to roam the Earth”. He adds: “Our results also suggest that the Arctodus simus population in southern North America was more omnivorous than the highly carnivorous populations in the north-east”.

Specifically, after the analysis involving microscopic techniques and virtual models developed by the UA researcher, carious lesions caused by carbohydrates, present in plants, were found in the dental remains discovered at the La Brea Tar Pits site in Los Angeles, California, described by Alejandro Romero as “one of the most paradigmatic sites to study fossil mammals from the Pleistocene in North America”.

The UA researcher also highlights that “this is an interesting study, as caries were found for the first time in the dental remains of Arctodus simus, which proves that they could adapt to plants present in their diet as a result of climate change or competition with other predators”.

Other participants in the study included vertebrate ecology and palaentology experts like Alejandro Pérez-Ramos, from the UMA, and researchers from the Natural History Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits Museum of Los Angeles, USA.

 

Reference

Dental caries in the fossil record: a window to the evolution of dietary plasticity in an extinct bear”, Scientific Reports. Volume 7, December 2017.

 

Related article

New evidence on the diet of the Homo antecessor from Atapuerca

 

Analisis_oso_cara_corta

 Microscopic and morphometric analyses conducted on teeth belonging to short-faced bear fossils.  Source: Scientific Reports

 

 

 

University News


Universidad de Alicante
Carretera de San Vicente del Raspeig s/n
03690 San Vicente del Raspeig
Alicante (Spain)

Tel: (+34) 96 590 3400

Fax: (+34) 96 590 3464

For further information: informacio@ua.es, and for enquiries on this web server: webmaster@ua.es

Carretera San Vicente del Raspeig s/n - 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig - Alicante - Tel. 96 590 3400 - Fax 96 590 3464