Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

Habitat preferences of European Middle Miocene omnivorous ursids

Suvi Viranta

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 49 (2), 2004: 325-327

Indarctos spp. were the first large-bodied bears with omnivorous tendencies. Two Indarctos fossils assigned to I. arctoides ssp. by Bernor, Feibel, et al. (2003) and Viranta and Werdelin (2003) show that the genus had a wide geographic range in Europe in the Middle Miocene and was represented by at least two contemporaneous species. Present work shows that the two species of Indarctos lived in a mixture of environments, and were not clearly separated into distinct habitats. Indarctos seems to have evolved during an interval of faunal turnover in Europe. The appearance of Indarctos coincided with an extinction of small omnivorous mammals and was accompanied by the appearance of other large omnivores.

Suvi Viranta [], Department of Anatomy, Howard University College of Medicine, 520WSt. NW, Washington, D.C. 20059 and P.O. Box 37012 NMNH Bldg. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20013 USA.

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