The Mystery Behind the Biggest Bears of All Time

  • Published: 24 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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Comments • 1 196

  • ronaldo Duran
    ronaldo Duran  5 hours back

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

    • jamesd2128
      jamesd2128  1 days back

      You had me until 7.51 when you said Jagwires [shudder].

      • mr spring
        mr spring  1 days back

        I know im late but do an evolution of ants

        • rob32tn
          rob32tn  1 days back

          I`m dying to know more about how HERRERSAURUS ., how it seemed more reptilian then its successor`s in the Jurassic and so on ? PLEASE? Just HERRERSAURUS period would be super nice and way awesome.

          • Nicolas Plantiko
            Nicolas Plantiko  2 days back

            We probably killed many, too. They where competition.

            • Brendan O'Neil
              Brendan O'Neil  3 days back

              What about climbing?

              • مزفر ابرحم
                مزفر ابرحم  3 days back

                The Biggest Bear ever is Sea Bear from Bikini Bottom

                • Kalli Mae Cooke
                  Kalli Mae Cooke  3 days back

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

                  • BLOOD
                    BLOOD  5 days back

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

                    • Dennet Oregon
                      Dennet Oregon  6 days back

                      Asteroid killed off all its prey.

                      • EricTheNotSoRed
                        EricTheNotSoRed  7 days back

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

                        • Chris H
                          Chris H  1 weeks back

                          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?

                          • Fulcrum Indicate
                            Fulcrum Indicate  2 weeks back

                            When you realize 1:33 they are saying the biggest bear of all time is the same size as a large Kodiac or Polar bear alive today not record-breaking just big examples.

                            • Raptorialis11
                              Raptorialis11  3 weeks back

                              I love natural history and glad to have found this channel. And Kallie is a fantastic host!! She's very enthusiastic about this.

                              • Jeff Glenn
                                Jeff Glenn  3 weeks back

                                Apparently you have not heard of a bear it lives up north it can achieve 13 ft tall it's called the polar bear

                                • garrisp
                                  garrisp  3 weeks back

                                  Saying “full grown person” is assuming someone’s height and is demeaning to those who are vertically challenged 😡🤬👎🏻

                                  • Voltaic Fire
                                    Voltaic Fire  4 weeks back

                                    That short-faced bear looks unnervingly like a spider/bear hybrid to me. 😱

                                    • Gonson Jebibeba
                                      Gonson Jebibeba  4 weeks back

                                      beeeee bopin' babehhhhhh3

                                      • jacob Taves
                                        jacob Taves  1 months back

                                        Biotic boi

                                        • William Perry
                                          William Perry  1 months back

                                          I bet Conway Twitty would have like her in those tight fitting jeans.

                                          • todd goslin
                                            todd goslin  1 months back

                                            The extinction event I think she's looking for is known as the Goldilocks epoch!

                                            • Ash Peeler
                                              Ash Peeler  1 months back

                                              I’m watching this while I’m in a cabin😖

                                              • liam redmill
                                                liam redmill  1 months back

                                                It's body shape with slender legs, reminds me of a hyena, is it possible that,totally dominating america, some bears, developed pack traits, I can't imagine a bear of any size, taking down a bison, but a small pack, working the rear, could, please tell me what you think of my hypothesis/idea, thanks so much for your exellent educational content, and superb presentation, and oration

                                                • Juan Manuel Saenz Kotyk
                                                  Juan Manuel Saenz Kotyk  1 months back

                                                  "history of ants" pleasee

                                                  • Daggerman105 -
                                                    Daggerman105 -  2 months back

                                                    Why does everyone instantly blame humans for the extinction of everything?

                                                    Yes, we are very dangerous but no 10,000 years ago we didn’t have the real capability to nearly instantly decimate an entire ecosystem, it’s just unfeasible.

                                                    • J Chan Tack
                                                      J Chan Tack  2 months back

                                                      Why did they die out?
                                                      Me: We ate them

                                                      • Joel Williams
                                                        Joel Williams  2 months back

                                                        Bear Down!

                                                        • Derk L
                                                          Derk L  2 months back

                                                          Great video! Sexy, informative,

                                                          • Terry Robinson
                                                            Terry Robinson  2 months back

                                                            I would like to see a show on ice age. I'd like it to be more on the southern hemisphere not Europe Asia and North America. Since both have ice

                                                            • Roosevelt Brentwood
                                                              Roosevelt Brentwood  2 months back

                                                              couldn’t watch, the narrator is annoyingly perky.

                                                              • doctim111
                                                                doctim111  2 months back

                                                                It is suspected that an archaic, ice-age polar bear is still roaming the Himalayas.....

                                                                • Christopher Beebe
                                                                  Christopher Beebe  2 months back

                                                                  Bears still to this day fight any predator, polar bears and grizzly bears are the scariest predators to be face two face with on foot, sure tigers lions and such WILL kill you, bears are scarier to me.

                                                                  • Christopher Beebe
                                                                    Christopher Beebe  2 months back

                                                                    Umm a polar bear at the museum in DC was over a ton, 2300 lbs, on hinde legs it can look a elephant in the eye. Polar bears are HUGE and its getting down played.. wonder why. (I believe it has 18 feet tall on 2 legs)

                                                                    • Dipstikk
                                                                      Dipstikk  2 months back

                                                                      Plionarctos just chillin
                                                                      early man be like "oh dang a bear" and he all like "whoa dude where at"

                                                                      • Rams495
                                                                        Rams495  2 months back

                                                                        The big bears were probably killed off by the same thing that killed half of the animals at the end of the last ice age, a huge impact. The evidence for it continues to mount but main stream science will not acknowledge it even when a gigantic crater was found in Greenland. It dates to 12kyrs ago which is precisely the time, that those that were called pseudo-scientists had theorized. I suppose we'll have to wait until this crop of scientists, that have staked their careers on the current belief system, die off and new ones that hope to make new discoveries come to the forefront.

                                                                      • Nat Wolins
                                                                        Nat Wolins  2 months back

                                                                        Human are death on two legs. Human appear large mammals disappear.

                                                                        • Jorge Martí
                                                                          Jorge Martí  2 months back

                                                                          Love this

                                                                          • ScreenTalker DotOrg
                                                                            ScreenTalker DotOrg  2 months back

                                                                            Atlanteans wiped out the short faced bear with their laser wrist weapons

                                                                            • Jari Tapani Ruusupuu
                                                                              Jari Tapani Ruusupuu  2 months back

                                                                              Maybe short-faced bears had smaller brain capasity than todays bears?

                                                                              • Ya tú sabes Neta que sabe

                                                                                Aunque sea por biogenetica debemos recuperar ejemplares de aquella mega fauna tan fascinante 🌝🌝🌝😇😛

                                                                                • Kairi Suzuki
                                                                                  Kairi Suzuki  2 months back

                                                                                  Bears🐻 are versatile “Carnivora” beasts that can adapt to several niches (unlike cats or dogs!).

                                                                                  I have no idea how North American short-faced bears would have been driven to extinction by the contenpotaries🤔

                                                                                  • Merlin LeDuc
                                                                                    Merlin LeDuc  2 months back


                                                                                    • Fritz
                                                                                      Fritz  2 months back

                                                                                      "Let's make a series with prehistoric animals in South America"

                                                                                      This live in Brazil, Paraguay and Colombia
                                                                                      DoN't FoRgEt To MaKe A cItAtIoN oF tHiS aNiMaL iN nOrTh AmErIcA.

                                                                                      • Danny Isambard
                                                                                        Danny Isambard  2 months back

                                                                                        All theses bears freely travelling between the US and South America, we needed that wall even back then.🤪🤪🤪

                                                                                        • Whitney V
                                                                                          Whitney V  2 months back

                                                                                          Gotta connect these extinctions to a comet strike. Way too many megafauna died at the exact same time.

                                                                                          • Hearthlete TV
                                                                                            Hearthlete TV  3 months back

                                                                                            I'm officials hooked on your video's - thank you so much!

                                                                                            • Baller4real 20
                                                                                              Baller4real 20  3 months back

                                                                                              Autistick bear

                                                                                              • Gorilla Jones
                                                                                                Gorilla Jones  3 months back

                                                                                                Wait, aren't polar bears almost 4 meters tall?