Sunday, September 24, 2006
Springfield, Missouri - The bear that left a 3-foot long claw mark in an Ice Age clay bank was the largest bear species ever to walk the earth, about 6 feet tall at the shoulder and capable of moving its 1,800 pounds up to 45 miles per hour in a snarling dash for prey.
The claw mark by the extinct giant short-faced bear still looks fresh today in a southwest Missouri cave that some scientists are calling a national treasure - an Ice Age time capsule sealed for thousands of years.
Discovered accidentally five years ago this month on the outskirts of Springfield, Riverbluff Cave is slowly yielding its fossil treasures as a small team of scientists and volunteers gingerly explore it while trying to preserve a rich bed of remains, from bones to tracks and dung.
'We found 5,000 micro-fossils in just one 1-foot by 2-foot block of clay,' says lead paleontologist Matt Forir, 32, Springfield-Greene County Parks Naturalist.
See the Riverbluff Cave Ice Age Time Capsule (Official website)
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