STL Science Center

STL Science Center

19 October 2011


Once again we have an animal that only died out about 11,000 years ago and thus begs the question: Who actually "found" the first evidence of the animal? Surely the first evidence was most likely found in some sort of Native American art and, had the native peoples kept records in North America 11,000 years ago we would already know long before we found a fossil all sorts of things about this animal such as its diet and territorial habits. Unfortunately, they did not keep very good written documents 11,000 years ago and we therefore have only artistic representations of bears and fossil evidence to go on. The fact that the fossils have been found in so many different locations across the continent of North America only adds to how much we can glean from studying the fossils.

No one single man is truly "responsible" for the discovery and findings of Arctodus remains and research on account of how many skeletons and partial skeletons have been unearthed. Per Christiansen is, at the moment, one of the more referenced authors in current articles on Arctodus and can therefore, on account of the papers he has written, be looked to as one of the more knowledgeable researchers of Arctodus during our time. The earliest references I have found to a discovery point vaguely at a Captain Bowman of North Carolina during the American Revolution and sadly most of these references note that he died before the discovery of the tooth was widely published; the war obviously taking precedent over the science. Captain Bowman's death during the war certainly did not help him follow up his find. It may remain a mystery forever, who initially discovered the fossils that set Arctodus up for "discovery" but at least it has been found and can now be discussed.

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