Ursus etruscus

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Ursus etruscus
Temporal range: Pliocene–Pleistocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Caniformia
Superfamily: Arctoidea
Family: Ursidae
Subfamily: Ursinae
Tribe: Ursini
Genus: Ursus

Ursus etruscus (Etruscan bear) is an extinct species of mammal of the family Ursidae (bears), endemic to Europe, Asia and North Africa during the Pliocene through Pleistocene, living from ~5.3 Mya—11,000 years ago, existing for approximately 5.289 million years.

Ursus etruscus appears to have come from Ursus minimus and gave rise to the brown bear, Ursus arctos, and the cave bear, Ursus spelaeus. The range of Ursus etruscus is mostly continental Europe with specimens also recovered in the Great steppe region of Eurasia. The latest fossil evidence for Ursus etruscus was recovered in Israel, Croatia, and Toscana, Italy dating at 1.8 Mya to 11,000 years.

Some scientists have proposed that the early, small variety of U. etruscus of the middle Villafranchian era survives in the form of the modern Asian black bear.[1]



Not unlike the brown bears of Europe in size, it had a full complement of premolars, a trait carried from the genus Ursavus.

Fossil distribution[edit]

Sites and specimen ages: