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Drachenloch Cave of the Bears

In the early 1900s, Emil Bachler, an archeologist dug the Drachenloch Cave - one of the "Dragon's Lairs" in Switzerland. The cave, at an altitude of 7,335 feet above sea level, forms a deep tunnel running more than 200 feet into the cliff. The deposit in the cave turned out to contain an immense number of cave bear remains, including several well-preserved skulls and complete limb bones. At that elevation, the site would have been inaccessible during the glaciation; thus the bears must date from the interglacial, the time of early Neanderthal man in Europe.

To his surprise, Bachler came to realize that the skulls and bones were by no means scattered haphazardly. On the contrary, they seemed to be oriented rigidly in certain preferred directions.



Information on the Bear including Drachenloch

The longest war ever fought by humans was not fought against other humans, but against another species -- Ursus spelaeus, the Cave Bear. For several hundred thousand years our stone age ancestors fought pitched and bloody battles with these denizens of the most precious commodity on earth -- habitable caves. Without these shelters homo sapiens would have had little chance of surviving the Ice Ages, the winter storms, and the myriad of predators that lurked in the dark.

The cave bears, Ursus spelaeus and their cousins Ursus deningeri, were fierce, 20-foot long versions of Grizzly bears with huge teeth and claws. Until Neanderthals, and the later Cro-magnons appeared on the scene in Europe and the Mid-east, these giant carnivores occupied every cave from sea level to altitudes near 10,000 feet.

One by one, our ancestors destroyed these gigantic creatures, driving them out of caves in a progressive northward movement, and then working their way up into the mountains. The last cave bear was killed high up in the mountains of what is now Yugoslavia some 10,000 years ago.

Neanderthal Man and Extinction of the Cave Bear

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