STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 October 2011

Two Good Papers

I found two papers that I read over the weekend that were quite good and that I decided I would share this week. There are many more, but I decided that these two were enough. The first paper is authored by Per Christiansen of ZMUC in Denmark. This paper focuses on the sizes of two bears, Arctodus simus and Ursus spelaeus. Cave bears aside, the paper discusses in great detail the methods of measuring out the bodies of these two animals and makes well founded theories on diet based on both size of the body and the cranial structure. In terms of straightforward discussion about the size and dimensions of Arctodus there are few other current papers that are this detailed.

The second paper, which I cannot link unfortunately and allow everyone a full read as it is an article in the JVP, was authored by Borja Figuerido and three others from the Universidad de Malaga. The article is found at this address and if you can read it it is an interesting read. If you cannot, then allow me to summarize briefly. This article is aimed at ridding the Arctodus of myths popularly attributed to it through various means such as speculation and exaggerated research. Some of the myths that are reversed or, at the very least, addressed and confronted are the idea that Short-faced Bears were hypercarnivores capable of crushing bones with their bites, the abilities of these bears to chase down horses in full flight, the possibility that Arctodus was a specific niche scavenger, and that the term "short-faced" is not actually an accurate description of the bear. Personally, I like their conclusion, not describing every method and bit of research in the paper here, that Arctodus was an enormous omnivorous bear that adapted to its surroundings and lived off that ability to adapt its diet and lifestyle.

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