Ursavus elmensis

Ursavus elmensis, also known as the dawn bear, was the last species to evolve in the Ursavus genus. It lived during the early Miocene epoch (over 20 million years ago) in what was at that time a subtropical Europe. About 10 million years ago, Ursavus elmensis is believed to have given rise to Protursus simpsoni from which the Ursus line evolved. Although Ursavus elmensis is the first recognizable species of "true bear" known to have existed, it is believed to have been outlived by Ursavus depereti which is believed to have produced Indarctos and Agriotherium.

Ursavus elmensis was only the size of a fox terrier and retained many dog-like characteristics. It is believed to have done most of its hunting in trees like its ancestors, feeding on mainly vegetation and insects. By the Pleistocene epoch (1.8 million to 10,000 years ago), its decendents had evolved into some of the largest carnivorous mammals ever known. All modern bears are believed to have branched from Ursavus. The Ursavus line became extinct 8 to 7 million years ago when climate of the northern hemisphere became much drier, turning subtropical forests more into deserts.


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