The Etruscan bear Ursus etruscus evolved from the Ursus minimus and existed from 5.3 million to 11,000 years ago, before becoming extinct near the end of
the last glacial period. The 3 subspecies are Ursus etruscus etruscus,
Ursus etruscus ruscinensis, and Ursus etruscus arvernensis. It is the ancestor of
Ursus spelaeus, Ursus deningeri,
Ursus savini and Ursus arctos.
Remains have been found in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Below is a list of locations where Ursus etruscus
fossils have been discovered and timespans of the specimens' estimated ages.
Vassiloudi, Macedonia Greece ~5.3—1.8 million years ago
Obigarm, Tajikistan ~5.3—1.8 million years ago
Ahl al Oughlam, Morocco ~3.6—1.8 million years ago
Pardines, Auvergne, France ~2.5—1.8 million years ago
Dmanisi, Georgia ~1.8 Ma.—800,000 years ago.
Mestas de Con, Cangas de Onis, Asturias, Spain ~1.8—100,000 years ago.
Strmica, Croatia ~1.8—11,000 years ago
The Etruscus was similar in size and anatomical to the Asiatic black bear of today.
In fact, it has been suggested by some scientists that the early, small variety of
Ursus etruscus of the middle Villafranchian era (1.9 to 1.8 million years ago) survives
in the form of the modern Asian black bear.
However, the Etruscus bear eventually became the size of today's European brown bear.