Cave bear skeletons were first described in 1774 by Johann Friederich Esper in his book Newly Discovered Zoolites of Unknown Four Footed Animals. The largest of all the great bears, the cave bear is believed to have been both an object of worship and the chief animal hunted by prehistoric man. Caves once inhabited by Neanderthals have been found containing cave bear skulls set upon rock altars and arranged in formations, often joined by carefully placed teeth and bones. As most of the relics from these caves have been removed, to find a Ice Age Cave Bear skeleton in such excellent condition is extremely rare. Enormous cave bears once inhabited an area that stretched across Europe, from Spain to Eurasia, from the North Sea to Romania, with the majority concentrated in Central and Eastern European mountain chains. The largest numbers of cave bear remains have been found in Austria, Switzerland, southern Germany, northern Italy, northern Spain, Croatia, Hungary and Romania.
This extraordinary Ice Age cave bear skeleton, believed to be from the species Ursus spelaeus, is an incredible relic of prehistoric times. Measuring over eight feet tall, this enormous bear almost certainly hailed from the Ural Mountains of Russia and was one of the most fearsome land animals of the Pleistocene Age. The largest of all the great bears, this now-extinct species was both worshipped and hunted by prehistoric man. Mounted in the attack position, this beautifully preserved skeleton perfectly conveys the incredible size and massive strength of this animal.