Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Thousands of prehistoric bear bones discovered in Macedonia, Greece

Greek archaeologists have uncovered more than 15,000 bones of fossilised cave bears on the Iridaias mountain in Macedonia, Greece which they hope will shed light on the extinction of other animals in the area, newspaper reports said Wednesday. According to a report in the daily Kathimerini newspaper, the bones belong to the Ursus ingressus cave bear that is believed to have made its way from northern Europe in search of a warmer climate about 40,000 years ago.

"By finding out what caused the disappearance of the Ursus ingressus we can find out what may also have caused the extinction of other animal types today," palaeontologist Evangelia Tsoukala was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Experts have been carrying out digs since the early 1990s and believe the fossilised remains to be the first cousin of the brown bear currently found in the region.

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