Paleontologists have found the oldest in Canada, a victim of decay

© Mauricio AntónМедведь-sweet tooth Protarctos abstrusus, suffering from cariesPaleontologists have found the oldest in Canada, a victim of decay© Mauricio Antón

. Paleontologists from the United States and Canada found in the Arctic remains unusual bear sweetums, who lived on Earth about 3.5 million years ago and suffering from severe forms of tooth decay, according to a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.

«This is the most Northern remains of primitive bears, and an example of how could look the ancestors of modern bear. The presence of signs of decay on his teeth is an extremely interesting feature of this animal, which tells us about the diet of these bears and that oral infections have a long evolutionary history among mammals,» said Wang Xiaoming (Xiaoming Wang) from the National history Museum of Los Angeles (USA).

Many ordinary people now believe that dental caries and other dental problems — a product of civilization and the associated «unnatural» diet that includes a lot of sugar, starch and other carbohydrates. Recent discoveries of paleontologists say the opposite – from tooth decay suffered not only the ancient Egyptians and other inhabitants of the first Nations of the Earth, but the Neanderthals ate almost exclusively meat.

Xiaoming and his colleagues have found further evidence that caries has existed for many million years by studying sediments from the time of the Pliocene – recent warm epoch in the geological history of the Earth, emerged on the canadian Arctic island of Ellesmere.

At that time the Arctic climate was significantly milder than today, as scientists assume, then, the Arctic was not yet ice-covered, and resembled the Siberian tundra or the taiga, is free from snow cover during the spring and summer months. Canadian scientists for two decades studying the flora and fauna of that time, excavated at the site of a dried up swamp that existed on the island of Ellesmere is approximately 3.5 million years ago.

Relatively recently, scientists were lucky, they managed to find the remains of one of the most primitive bears on Earth. In size and appearance he resembled a typical brown bears, although significantly different from their anatomy and shape of the teeth.

«This is a very important finding, since all the other remains of ancient bears have been found in more southern regions of the Earth dominated by a milder climate. For this reason, the bear from the island of Ellesmere is important for us, as it shows that the Arctic and other harsh regions of the Earth have mastered the first not grizzly and black bears, and the first representatives of this family,» adds Natalia Rybczynski (Natalia Rybczynski) from the Canadian Museum of nature in Ottawa.

The difficulties of Arctic exploration, as noted by paleontologist, had its greatest impact on the condition of the teeth of this bear, named Protarctos abstrusus. As shown by x-rays of his jaw, in the teeth of a bear of a resident of Ellesmere island contained many cavities, whose existence scientists associated with the typical modern diet and as it turns out, the ancient bears.

«We know that modern bears are eaten in the autumn large quantities of fruits and berries that contain a lot of sugar, trying to gain the fat they need for survival during winter hibernation. The signs of decay are telling us that this survival strategy appeared almost immediately with the emergence of the first bears,» — concludes the scientist.