|Size comparison. Black bear in front, Grizzly in the middle and Short-faced bear in back.|
I believe that humans are incredibly tough.
Picture in your heads an animal so ferocious that it hunted, killed and ate Grizzly Bears the way feral cats eat Red Squirrels.
Now picture in your head a beast so fearsome that it drove that animal that casually killed Grizzly Bears into extinction. And what is the name of that fearsome species? Homo sapiens.
One of the great riddles is the lack of Grizzly Bears in the eastern half of the Northern Hemisphere.
The European Brown Bear is the same species as the Grizzly and its native range spanned from Western Europe to eastern Siberia. Basically, the animal we call the "Grizzly Bear" is ubiquitous in the northern hemisphere EXCEPT in the eastern US and Canada.
That spectrum of ecosystems included many habitats that are virtually identical to North America east of Fargo, N.D.
Why no Grizzly Bears east of Fargo? It is a riddle.
The Short-faced Bear
"...was about five feet at the shoulders when walking and stood as tall as 12 feet on its hind legs. Unlike pigeon-toed modern bears, its toes pointed straight forward, enabling it to walk with a fast, purposeful gait. It probably could run over 40 miles per hour despite weighing over 1500 pounds."
Isotope analysis of Short-faced Bear remains suggest that it was primarily a carnivore.
It is common for intelligent species within an ecosystem to systematically hunt and exterminate competing species. Coyotes kill cats and fox. Wolves kill coyotes. Panthers kill wolves.
One theory is that the Short-faced Bears expatriated Grizzly Bears from the Eastern North America. Wolves could out-run them (barely). Black Bears and Puma could climb trees. Grizzlies...not so much.
The Short-faced Bears disappeared around 11,000 B.C. when humans (Native Americans) migrated into the areas now known as the Eastern United States. One assumes the Native American Home Owners Association came to the conclusion that Short-faced Bears were depressing house values.
After eliminating the Short-faced Bears, those same tribes came to value Grizzly Bear teeth and claws as symbols of virility and magic. The current thinking is that Grizzly bears could not push into the eastern US and Canada due to hunting pressure.
Back to tough
Consider that Native Americans were able to push Short-faced Bears into extinction...a carnivorous species that weighed 1500 pounds and could sprint at 40 mph...with 8' long spears tipped with chipped, stone points.
We share 99.9% of our DNA with those people.
The Native Americans were able to defeat SfBs with team-work, communication and the ability to plan.
Retch Whitmer and Dana Weasel in Michigan? Droopy Cuomo? Nukem in Cali? Compared to Short-faced Bears they barely qualify as minor inconveniences.
We will overcome.
We may have their DNA but we sure don't have their Balls. Except maybe that 77 year old barber in Owasso. I sure hope that you are right but I'm not very confident.--kenReplyDelete
They're not putting survival pressure on us yet. We'll grumble a little and move over. Why? Because we (western man) doesn't want to get angry enough to do something. The smart ones among us know that that path leads to all kinds of horrible 'cides... And we really don't want to go there until we have to. Don't forget, the socialists and political monsters that casually murdered 100 million humans during the twentieth century share that DNA also.ReplyDelete
That is true. But there were far more victims that obediently got on the trains than murderers that were waiting when they got off. I don't know. I can't say I "know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em". I can only pray and hope.--ken .Delete
There is no clear reasons for ice age extinctions but humans figure highly in the mix. It is doubtful they killed SFB directly. It may have been a trophic cascade. On the hand, polar bears and griz were killed on occasion by first peoples. It would require some risk.ReplyDelete