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Temporal range: Late Miocene–Pleistocene
Agriotherium insignis plio montpellier.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Superfamily: Arctoidea
Family: Ursidae
Subfamily: Agriotheriinae[1]
Kretzoi, 1929
Genus: Agriotherium
Wagner, 1837
Type species
Agriotherium sivalensis
Falconer & Cautley, 1836

A. myanmarensis (Ogino et al., 2011)
A. insigne (Gervais, 1859)
A. inexpetans (Qiu et al., 1991)
A. palaeindicus (Lydekker, 1878)
A. sivalensis (Falconer & Cautley, 1836)
A. africanum (Hendey, 1972)
A. coffeyi (Dalquest, 1986)
A. gregoryi (Frick, 1926)
A. schneideri (Sellards, 1916)

Agriotherium is an extinct genus of Ursidae of the Miocene through Pleistocene epochs, with fossils found in Neogene strata of North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia, living from ~13.6–2.5 Ma, existing for approximately 11.1 million years.



Agriotherium was about 2.7 metres (9 ft) in body length and weighed around 910 kg (2,000 lb), making it larger than most living bears. Except for the extinct subspecies of modern polar bear Ursus maritimus tyrannus and Arctotherium, Agriotherium was along with the short-faced bear, Arctodus simus the largest member of terrestrial Carnivora. It had dog-like crushing teeth. Its primary diet was carnivorous and secondary was omnivorous possibly classifying this animal as mesocarnivore. With a body mass close to those of most large ungulates (bovines, cervids, camelids, and others), it is probable that Agrotherium could have preyed on these.

Body mass[edit]

Two specimens were examined by Legendre and Roth for body mass.[3]

  • Specimen 1: 79.3 kg (170 lb)
  • Specimen 2: 652.6 kg (1,400 lb)

Bite strength[edit]

A 2011 estimate that compared the bites of a few selected bears, both extant and extinct, concluded that Agriotherium had the strongest bite-force of any mammalian land-predator yet estimated.[4]

Fossil distribution[edit]

Sites and age of specimens:

Agriotherium ranged widely; fossils of four or more species have been found in Europe, India, China, North America and South Africa. It is the only ursoid known to have colonized sub-Saharan Africa (amphicyonid "bear dogs" also reached the area).[5]


  1. ^ McLellan, Bruce, and David C. Reiner. "A review of bear evolution." Bears: Their Biology and Management (1994): 85-96.
  2. ^ Ogino, Shintaro, Naoko Egi, and Masanaru Takai. "New species of Agriotherium (Mammalia, Carnivora) from the late Miocene to early Pliocene of central Myanmar." Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 42.3 (2011): 408-414.
  3. ^ S. Legendre and C. Roth. 1988. Correlation of carnassial tooth size and body weight in recent carnivores (Mammalia). Historical Biology 1(1):85–98
  4. ^ "Ancient bear had the strongest bite". BBC News. 
  5. ^ Howell, F. Clark; Garcia, Nuria (December 2007). "Carnivora (Mammalia) From Lemudong’o (Late Miocene: Narok District, Kenya)" (PDF). Kirtlandia (Cleveland Museum of Natural History) 556: 121–139. Retrieved 2009-10-15. 


  • Dalquest, W. W. (1986). "Lower Jaw and Dentition of the Hemphillian Bear, Agriotherium (Ursidae), with the Description of a New Species". Journal of Mammalogy 67 (4): 623–631. doi:10.2307/1381124. JSTOR 1381124. 
  • Miller, W. E.; Carranza-Castañeda, O.; Carranza-Castaneda, Oscar (1996). "Agriotherium schneideri from the Hemphillian of Central Mexico". Journal of Mammalogy 77 (2): 568–577. doi:10.2307/1382830. JSTOR 1382830. 
  • Petter, G.; Thomas, H. (1986). "Les Agriotheriinae (Mammalia, Carnivora)néogènes de l'Ancien Monde presence du genre Indarctos dans la faune de Menacer (ex−Marceau), Algérie". Geobios 19: 573–586. doi:10.1016/s0016-6995(86)80055-9. 
  • Sorkin, B. (2006). "Ecomorphology of the giant short-faced bears Agriotherium and Arctodus". Historical Biology: A Journal of Paleobiology 18: 1–20. doi:10.1080/08912960500476366. 

External links[edit]