Metatarsal bone "Ursus spelaeus"
The Pleistocene epoch, c. 35,000 years ago, Dachstein Mountains, Northern Limestone Alps, Austria, private collection from Netherlands.
The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) is a prehistoric species of bear that lived in Europe and Asia during the Pleistocene and became extinct about 24,000 years ago during the Last Glacial Maximum. Both the word "cave" and the scientific name spelaeus are used because fossils of this species were mostly found in caves. Both the cave bear and the brown bear are thought to be descended from the Plio-Pleistocene Etruscan bear (Ursus etruscus) that lived about 5.3 million years ago to 100,000 years ago. The last common ancestor of cave bears and brown bears lived between 1.2–1.4 million years ago. The immediate precursor of the cave bear was probably Deninger's bear (Ursus deningeri), a species restricted to Pleistocene Europe about 1.8 million years ago to 100,000 years ago. Many caves in Central Europe have skeletons of cave bears inside, such as the Heinrichshöhle in Hemer, the Dechenhöhle in Iserlohn, Germany. A complete skeleton, five complete skulls, and 18 other bones were found inside Kletno Bear Cave in 1966 in Poland. In Romania, in a cave called Bears' Cave, 140 cave bear skeletons were discovered in 1983
Absolutely stunning cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) metatarsal (foot) bone. Excellent condition. Beautiful dark brown patina. Age-related wear and minor abrasion. Chip. Dirt and dust. Bone is treated with a surface-protecting shellac & beeswax. Size approx. 7,0cm x 2,6cm x 1,6cm. Weight c. 20g.