Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Often, when a carnivorous species dies out, one contributor is its specialized diet. That seems to have happened in reverse with Europe's huge cave bear, which was largely vegetarian. Martina Pacher of the University of Vienna and her colleague Anthony J. Stuart of the Natural History Museum, theorize that climate change about 27,800 years B.P. reduced the available vegetation and caused the 1,000-kg bears (Ursus spelaeus) to slide toward extinction, followed by the mammoth and other species. Europe's race of brown bears (Ursus arctos), true omnivores, made it through all right.