The Mystery Behind the Biggest Bears of All Time

  • Published on: 23 April 2019
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    The short-faced bears turned out to be remarkably adaptable, undergoing radical changes to meet the demands of two changing continents. And yet, for reasons we don’t quite understand, their adaptability wasn’t enough to keep them from going extinct.   

    Thanks to Fabrizio De Rossi and Studio 252mya for the Arctodus and Arctotherium illustrations. You can find more of their work here:

    And thanks to Ceri Thomas for the Plionarctos and Arctotherium reconstructions! Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at and

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

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    Katie Fichtner, Anthony Callaghan, Robert Amling, Po Foon Kwong, Larry Wilson, Merri Snaidman, Renzo Caimi Ordenes, John Vanek, Neil H. Gray, Marilyn Wolmart, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, Ehit Dinesh Agarwal, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Kelby Reid, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Philip Slingerland, Jose Garcia, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ron Harvey Jr, Jacob Gerke, Alex Yan

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  • Runtime : 11:16
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history Bears spectacled bear Arctodus simus short-faced bears Pleistocene Epoch Arctotherium angustidens Arctotherium Arctodus North America South America Great American Biotic Interchange Smilodon Prey jaguar cougar dire wolf hypercarnivore kleptoparasitism


  • xBlackDawnx
    xBlackDawnx   7 hours ago

    How did I miss this 7 months ago!? I watch this channel like a hawk for its approx bimonthly uploads

  • Eddy Maldonado
    Eddy Maldonado   3 days ago

    I'm sad all the really cool animals like these have gone extinct

  • RustSquirrel
    RustSquirrel   3 days ago

    You shouldn’t use polar bears as an example because all they can eat is meat, plants can’t grow in that cold environment

  • Daniel McDavid
    Daniel McDavid   4 days ago

    I would buy the Eons shirt if it didn't have a pocket.

  • BoMwarriorVlog
    BoMwarriorVlog   5 days ago

    I appreciate the size comparison to the host, but how tall is she?? 5 feet tall? 5 foot 3 inches tall? Six feet tall? Four foot eleven inches? 🤔

  • Duncan
    Duncan   1 weeks ago

    I can barely bear the thought of that bear bearing down on me.

  • Shill for Science
    Shill for Science   1 weeks ago

    see, I woulda named them "derptotherium"because they derpy lookin.

  • Ken Hall
    Ken Hall   1 weeks ago

    not a single mention of Yogi or Smokey,, you've lost any shred of credibility.

  • kraigthorne
    kraigthorne   1 weeks ago

    1:30 The Short-faced Bear of North America was taller with a large specimen standing up to 11–12 feet (3.4–3.7 m) tall with a 14-foot (4.3 m) vertical arm reach.

  • Fredrik Dunge
    Fredrik Dunge   1 weeks ago

    10:00 10.000 years ago? Wouldn't that roughly coincide with the arrival of humans in the Americas?

  • truthseeker215
    truthseeker215   1 weeks ago

    So would the short face beat have crossed paths with the grizzly ?

  • Yogan Barrientos
    Yogan Barrientos   1 weeks ago

    It would be a cool if there was a video game that covered all of these type of old species in all of these videos.

  • Moof Cabbage
    Moof Cabbage   1 weeks ago

    It's a shame that no bears are native to Africa anymore, I would personally love to see how a bear would interact with African wildlife.

  • Jaim Deines
    Jaim Deines   2 weeks ago

    So many mysteries,So many conclusions to MEATSo many theories to PLANTI can't BEAR to SCAVENGE Any more knowledge.

  • jaxxstraw
    jaxxstraw   2 weeks ago

    I want to see more Triassic. It needs love.

  • Jesko Parra
    Jesko Parra   2 weeks ago

    Why are their bones not on display in N.A. museums? I've visited museums from various states from coast to coast, and this commonly large apex predator is never featured. #sloth #bummer

  • Denzel Fortune
    Denzel Fortune   2 weeks ago

    Didn't even know there were bears in South America. Mind blown

  • richard murphy
    richard murphy   2 weeks ago

    Specialist doesn't pay off in the long run not fussy best option

  • oicram1
    oicram1   3 weeks ago

    PS I love her badge. I have several National Parks badges......nature.

  • oicram1
    oicram1   3 weeks ago

    I love this series!!!!! But sometimes.....I wish it was me narrating. She is amazing.....but I have a great voice for documentaries. Take care, Morgan Freeman.

  • ntrovRT Hemi
    ntrovRT Hemi   3 weeks ago

    Imagine a cartel thinking they're being badass by throwing some rat in a chamber with a LITERAL teddy bear

  • Wasa Bista
    Wasa Bista   3 weeks ago

    There was a major extinction event in and around the Younger Dryas, caused by a comet shower that hit the North American glacier and triggered worldwide floods. That may be what did for the giant North American bears.

  • Djago
    Djago   3 weeks ago

    i bet humans hunted them to extinction

  • Toyuzu
    Toyuzu   3 weeks ago

    Science will tell you the largest bears currently living are Polar Bears. Not true. Alaska has coastal brown bears that make the largest Polar bears look like cubs.

  • ronaldo Duran
    ronaldo Duran   3 weeks ago

    I love Bears. They are so adorable at any age. They are so fluffy!

  • mr spring
    mr spring   3 weeks ago

    I know im late but do an evolution of ants

  • Kalli Mae Cooke
    Kalli Mae Cooke   4 weeks ago

    This channel is the only thing getting me throught the flu rn

    BLOOD   1 months ago

    Tsss! We all know humans killd them off duhh!!

  • EricTheNotSoRed
    EricTheNotSoRed   1 months ago

    Regardless its normal diet, I would not want to meet one in a dark ally.

  • Chris H
    Chris H   1 months ago

    Could the arrival of (also omniverous) humans with hunting weapons not have occupied the same niche (but far more efficiently) as them, therefore causing an abrupt end to them in the fossil record?