Named By: Pilgrim - 1913.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Carnivora, Ursidae.
Species: I. salmontanus (type), I. anthracitis, I. arctoides, I. atticus, I. nevadensis, I. oregonensis, I. vireti, I. zdanskyi. Possibly others.
Size: Details unavailable.
Known locations: Across Africa, Asia, Europe and North America.
Time period: Tortonian to Messinian of the Miocene, possibly into the Zanclean of the Pliocene.
Fossil representation: Remains of multiple individuals.
of Indarctos were first discovered in India,
hence the genus name,
but as time went on it was discovered that this prolific genus of bear
was actually living across most of the old world continents of Africa,
Asia and Europe, and even the new world continent of north America,
especially the western United States though remains have been found as
far as Florida. The oldest fossils of Indarctos
are usually cited as
those coming from the Muddy Creek Formation of Arizona, however this
Formation is often only generally credited as being Miocene age
(rarely upper Miocene). The earliest appearance of Indarctos
fossils in the Miocene are concentrations in fossil deposits that are
about eleven to ten million through to five million years in age.
This firmly places the main temporal appearance of Indarctos
Tortonian to Messinian periods of the Miocene, with some fossils from
Libya suggesting the early Pliocene as well. Although in theory the
Indarctos fossils of Muddy Creek might be earlier,
they can also be
the same age as the other remains known from the US, and at the time
of writing it is safer to place Indarctos within
the Tortonian period
at the earliest, since this is supported by the occurrences of
fossils known elsewhere.
Indarctos was a fairly primitive bear that in the past has been considered to be similar to others such as Agriotheirum. The diet of the bear is also uncertain since most bears are known to be omnivorous. It’s possible that Indarctos may have preferred either a more meat or plant inclusive diet over one another, but at this time details are still unknown.
- Preliminary observations on Carnivora from the Sahabi Formation, F. C. Howell - 1987.
- Late Miocene large mammals from Yulafli, Thrace region, Turkey, and their biogeographic implications, D. Geraads, T. Kaya, and S. Mayda - 2005.