Europe’s extinct cave bears went into decline just as humans arrived

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Cave bear skeleton

Cave bears didn’t last long, once humans moved in next door


The huge cave bears that once roamed Europe started to disappear just after modern humans arrived. The finding from a new genetic analysis suggests that our ancestors played a big role in driving the bears to extinction.

Cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) are the clearest example of ancient humans wiping out a large-bodied species, at least in Europe, says Verena Schünemann at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

The bears roamed Europe for over 100,000 years. They were as large as modern grizzly bears and ate mostly plants. …