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Fossil - Cave bear metatarsal bone

Fossil - Cave bear metatarsal bone

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Fossil - Cave bear metatarsal bone, single piece

Pleistocene, c. 50,000 years ago, Carpathians, Romania. Size approx. 62mm x 23mm x 16mm. Weight approx. 20g.

The cave bear ( Ursus spelaeus ) was a large bear animal that lived in the Pleistocene period and wintered in caves. According to estimates, cave bear males weighed 400–500 kilograms and females 225–250 kilograms. Like most modern bears, it was omnivorous. The cave bear disappeared in the Pleistocene mass extinction at the end of the ice age about 10,000 years ago, probably due to climate change and human hunting. The metatarsal bone fossil has been treated with a layer of shellac and beeswax to protect the surface.

Symbol meaning

The cave bear symbolizes life force, protectionism, fertility and justice. On the other hand, it is also considered to represent stubbornness, aggressiveness, fear and slowness. Numerous beliefs are associated with the cave bear. The species has been thought to represent man himself, after all, the animal has been able to stand on two legs and use its front paws like hands. According to some studies, the cave bear may have been a significant part of the Neanderthal man's world of beliefs. However, this claim has not been confirmed. In the Bacho Kiro cave in Bulgaria, the remains of a man were found who still had an amulet made of a cave bear's tooth around his neck. The discovery has been dated to about 45,000 years ago.

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