HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Ancient fossil offers new clues to brown bears past

Fairbanks, AlaskaWhile nosing around the Quaternary mammal collection at the Provincial Museum of Alberta two years ago, Paul Matheus, a paleontologist with the Alaska Quaternary Center, came across a brown bear fossil that seemed out of place. The fossil had been collected by Jim Burns, curator of Quaternary mammals at the PMA a few years earlier near Edmonton, Alberta, in gravels that date to before the last ice age (older than 24,000 years). If this was true, Matheus thought, it could be a very important find. Burns loaned the specimen to Matheus so he could take it back to the University of Alaska Fairbanks to confirm its age using radiocarbon dating methods. Results showed the bear was indeed about 26,000 years old, and the two researchers realized the fossil's signficance--the history of brown bears in North America would have to be rewritten.

The ancestors of modern brown bears in North America are believed to have migrated from Asia to Alaska and Yukon (then a part of Beringia) between 50,000 and 100,000 years ago, and old brown bear fossils are not particularly uncommon in Beringia. Between roughly 13,000-23,000 years ago, the route from Beringia to areas of the continent further south was blocked by continental glaciers, so brown bears were more or less bottled up in Beringia. The oldest brown bear fossils south of Beringia, in areas like southern Canada and the northern U.S., are about 12,000-13,000 years old, so paleontologists concluded that's when they first arrived.

"It's always been a mystery, though, why brown bears didn't migrate farther south if they were in Beringia as early as 100,000 years ago and the passage south wasn't blocked by glaciers until about 23,000 years ago," said Matheus. "The discovery of the Edmonton specimen indicates that brown bears migrated south much earlier than previously thought."

The recent findings and their implications, are the subject of an article in the Nov. 12 issue of the journal Sc
'"/>

Contact: Paul Matheus
ffpem@uaf.edu
867-456-7551
University of Alaska Fairbanks
12-Nov-2004


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Ancient retrovirus sheds light on modern pandemic
2. Ancient Etruscans were immigrants from Anatolia, or what is now Turkey
3. Ancient DNA traces the woolly mammoths disappearance
4. Ancient amphibians evolved a bite before migrating to dry land
5. Ancient T. rex and mastodon protein fragments discovered, sequenced
6. Ancient coral reef tells the history of Kenyas soil erosion
7. Ancient genes used to produce salt-tolerant wheat
8. Ancient climate change may portend toasty future
9. Ancient ape ruled out of mans ancestral line
10. Ancient predator had strongest bite of any fish, rivaling bite of large alligators and T. rex
11. Ancient birds flew on all-fours

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Ancient fossil offers new clues brown bears past

(Date:8/28/2014)... Bethesda, MD FASEB MARC (Maximizing Access to Research ... the American Society of Human Genetics from October 18 ... awards are meant to promote the entry of students, ... mainstream of the basic science community and to encourage ... of Human Genetics. This year MARC conferred 16 ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... groups and clinicians is critical to the development ... of Georgia research. , A qualitative study of ... that role models for successful breastfeeding help positively ... "Mothers who received that support are more likely ... Alex Anderson, an associate professor in the College ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) Program has announced ... of Sports Medicine,s Conference on Integrative Physiology of ... These awards are meant to promote the ... underrepresented groups into the mainstream of the basic ... young scientists at the American College of Sports ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Breastfeeding study shows need for effective peer counseling programs 2
(Date:8/29/2014)... Local veterinarian, Dr. Keith Clement, and his ... to participate in an investigational study of donor stem ... of this study is to determine if a single ... arthritically affected joints can help reduce pain and inflammation ... current investigational study must be older than nine months, ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... SPIE Fellow Glenn Boreman, Professor and ... and Director of the Center for Optoelectronics and Optical ... and co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Plasmonics, ... Vice President of SPIE, the international society for optics ... recent election results at the Annual General Meeting of ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... in spintronics, an electronic which is not only ... on their spin and the spin-related magnetism. Spin-charge ... signals and vice versa. Recently, the research group ... Physics at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in collaboration ... has for the first time realised a new, ...
(Date:8/28/2014)... Sterlitech is proud to announce that ... stable of products . These additional products ... include membrane filters with surface charges. , ... for our membrane process testing equipment, and correspondingly, a ... membranes,” explains Sterlitech President Mark Spatz. “The addition ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Burnt Hills Veterinary Hospital Seeks Candidates for an Investigational Study of Stem Cells for Dogs with Arthritis 2Glenn Boreman, UNC Professor and Plasmonics Co-Founder, Elected to SPIE Presidential Chain 2A new, tunable device for spintronics 2A new, tunable device for spintronics 3Sterlitech Corporation Enhances Its Selection of Flat Sheet Membrane Filters 2
Cached News: