Magnificent Ice Age Cave Bear Paw in Glass Dome. 65,000 years old.


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A complete and superb large example of a cave bear paw (Ursus spelaeus) Subfossil.

Dating from the Pleistocene period: 65,000 years old. From a private Austrian collection. 

Mounted on a brass and turned wood stand and displayed in a 19th century oval glass dome with ebonised base. A superb scarce and unusual display piece. 

Glass dome Height 45cm x Width 35 cm, Depth 17cm. Paw Height 27 cm.

Subfossil refers to any remains of a once living organism in which the fossilization process is not complete, either for lack of time or because the conditions in which they were buried were not optimal for fossilization. Such unfossilized or partially fossilized remains may include bones, exoskeletons, nests, skin imprints, or fecal deposits. Subfossils are often found in caves or other shelters where they can be preserved for thousands of years. 

Found throughout caves of Europe, the Cave Bear (Ursus spelaeus) was named after the places where its remains are commonly found: caves from England to the Caspian Sea with the majority concentrated in Central and Eastern European mountain chains.  Remains found in caves near the North Sea and in The Netherlands show that the range of Ursus spelaeus eventually spread into the lowland forests of western Europe.  In this last region, populations drastically declined around 40,000 years ago finally becoming extinct during the last glacial period.

Ursus spelaeus was a huge omnivorous bear that resided in caves year-round compared to modern bears which only use caves as a shelter for hibernation.  When standing on its hind legs, the height of this beast would have averaged 10 feet tall!  Skulls have been found 20 inches in length!  The closest relative is our modern day brown bear but the cave bear averages 30% greater in size.