Fossil Cave Bear Vertebra (Ursus spelaeus) from Romania - 3.6 inches
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This is a great vertebra from a gigantic prehistoric cave bear - Ursus spelaeus. It was collected in a cave in the Bihor Mountains of Transylvania, Romania.
The fossil dates back to the Pleistocence Epoch, about 45 thousand years ago. This great fossil comes from an old collection and is now difficult to obtain.
The vertebra measures 3.6 x 4.1 inches / 9.0 cm x 10.2 cm. Weighs 1.80 oz / 50.5 grams.
Cave bears were truly impressive prehistoric animals, with males reaching over 1000 lbs. Interestingly, some evidence suggests that they were spiritually significant to Neanderthals, perhaps even worshipped by them! For example, caches of cave bear skulls aligned in the same direction have been found in Switzerland and France, likely the result of ritualistic practices.
Cave bear skeleton. Photo credit: Jan Dembowski