About 5.3 million years ago, Ursus minimus or the Auvergne bear evolved from Protursus. It lived for 3.5 million years and is an ancestor of the Ursus genus of bears. The Etruscan bear is an immediate descendant of Ursus minimus.
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Scientists found specimens of Ursus minimus (Auvergne bear) in Spain, France, and Italy. The bear was also endemic to China and North Africa.
Ursus minimus was a small bear that weighed roughly 100 pounds. It was about the same size as the Sun bear and had similar features to what we know today as the American black bear. The Auvergne bear had large teeth with molars designed to crush vegetation.
The Auvergne bear was the first species of the Ursinae family and the Ursus genealogy. It existed for about 3.5 million years, from 4.2 Ma to 2.6 Ma.
- Ursus minimus Devéze and Bouillet 1827 – http://fossilworks.org/bridge.pl?a=taxonInfo&taxon_no=376908
- Baryshnikov, Gennady & Lavrov, A.V.. (2013). Pliocene bear Ursus minimus Devиze de Chabriol et Bouillet, 1827 (Carnivora, Ursidae) in Russia and Kazakhstan. Russian Journal of Theriology. 12. 107-118. 10.15298/rusjtheriol.12.2.07.