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Last of the Maya Bears? by HodariNundu Last of the Maya Bears? by HodariNundu
Uno de los últimos osos de cara corta de la selva maya se aleja del olor de la civilización.
Inspirado por el descubrimiento reciente de cráneos de oso de cara corta (Arctotherium o quizá Arctodus) de unos 11.000 años de antiguedad en un cenote de Yucatán.
La noticia me hizo imaginar que quizá los últimos osos gigantes de cara corta sobrevivieron en lo más remoto de la selva, quizá lo suficiente para ver surgir las primeras civilizaciones mesoamericanas. Es solo un pensamiento romántico. Imaginen lo que un maya habria sentido de haberse topado en lo mas profundo de la selva con el ultimo de estos osos monstruosos :D

One of the last short faced bears of the Mayan Jungle about to flee from the smell of civilization.
Inspired by the recent discovery of four 11.000 year old skulls of short faced bears (Arctotherium or possibly Arctodus) in a Yucatan cenote.
The news made me imagine, what if the very last giant bears survived in the deepest, darkest jungle, maybe enough to see the rise of the first Mesoamerican civilizations? It's just a romantic thought, but imagine what a Maya would've thought/felt if he stumbled upon the last of these monstrous bears :D
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:iconacepredator:
acepredator Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2014
Same happened to Megalania. and Smilodon. And Harpagornis.
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:iconwdghk:
WDGHK Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
11,000 years ago is a mere thousand years before the 10,000 year extinction mark for all the mass disappearance of the Pleistocene megafauna of the Americas ,Mesoamerican civilization began from what I know around 7,000 BC ,a thousand years after the extinction of these bears,but still that isn`t too far of a stretch that some could have survived.Did you ever hear of some Maya artifacts that could depict a short faced bear,or a smilodon,ground sloth or some other prehistoric beast.

I have also heard that even today there are reports of a cryptid living in the Amazon jungle called the Mapunguari witch according to the native tribes description looked very much in size and appearance to the ground sloth Mylodon.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014   General Artist
Yes, the mapinguari inspired part of the second book I wrote!

About the Maya, I have a book in which there's a picture of a man wearing an animal's pelt. It has traditionally been considered as a coyote pelt by archaeologists for reasons I cannot understand; it has a short round muzzle, round ears, and a short stubby tail. It is definitely not canine or feline and looks like an obvious bear to me... but of course, since there's no hard evidence of bears living at that time in southern Mexico, no one has even considered the possibility...
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:iconwdghk:
WDGHK Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
What particular part of southern Mexico was that picture taken,in any way it could have easily been a black bear or Mexican grizzly that has wandered farter south than its usual range,i have once seen a report of a polar bear that has for some reason wandered straight into the heart of Alaska,when usually they don't stray far from the coast.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014   General Artist
I don´t remember but it was probably from Yucatan (where, curiously, the Arctotherium fossils were found in a sacred well).

Yes, it could've been a black bear, but there's also the possibility that it was a spectacled bear; apparently there was a time when they lived in Central America. It didn´t look much like a grizzly but everything's possible (and the artist was obviously focusing on the man, not the animal pelt).
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:iconwdghk:
WDGHK Featured By Owner Edited Aug 6, 2014
One thing I should have mentioned but forgot is that a Maya in southern Mexico from that far back in time shouldn't even have accesses to a coyote pelt since until recent history coyotes only lived in parries and brush lands of the Great Plains since everywhere else they were kept at bay by wolves and cougars,and its not until 2 or so centuries back ,when the Europeans started exterminating the 2 apex predators, that coyotes started colonizing the rest of the continent including southern Mexico.

Bears both black and grizzly were on the other hand present in the cooler climate of northern and central Mexico at the time,so pelt of them could have bee traded from northern tribe or brought along when tribes migrated towards the south.

So obviously who ever wrote of the pelt in drawing as coyote was clearly a better archeologist than zoologist.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014   General Artist
It happened a lot, really. There's plenty of animal statues labeled "coyotes" by archaeologists, when they actually resemble wolves a lot more (wide muzzle, short ears, longer fur etc). It makes sense, too, since obviously these ancient peoples would probably pay more attention to the larger, more dangerous wolf and depict it frequently. The Aztec even had it as an emblem of war and it was one of the three animals that guarded their capital city's "gates". Thing is, since wolves have been practically extinct in Mexico since the 50s, archaeologists simply don´t think of them as Mexican fauna anymore...
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:iconwdghk:
WDGHK Featured By Owner Edited Aug 6, 2014
Indeed its saddening to see how a lot of large animals were far more widespread in the past,but humans exterminated them and then even actively forget that these animals were once native to their home land.No one seems to remember that wolves and bears once lived on the Mediterranean coast of Africa along with lions that also once ranged as far north as the Balkan peninsula at the time of Ancient Greece for example.

Yes people are always more interested in the big animals,granted,without humanizing them, coyotes are cowards,to be fair their smaller size and cowering nature does benefit them in surivival,and they tend to better adapt to change than wolves,but then again wolves in a regular humans eyes are more respectable with their greater strength,bravery and effectiveness in hunting and cooperating to hunt down pretty much anything from mice to moose,in other words all animals have their unique qualities to be respected, except for mosquitos really their only purpose in the world is to annoy others and spread malaria, but the point being animals that get demonized in human culture such hyenas,rats,snakes,ect. deserve more respect.

Coyotes do seem to mentioned quite a bit in the mythos and culture of native americans,being portrayed as either a cunning trickster or a cowardly, honor less scavenger depending on with tribe, although there are some animals that seemed to be tabooed like you suggested with the saber tooths in ice age cave paintings,for one thing did the native Americans of North Ameica even take notice of the cougar,wolves and bears are all over their legends,culture and totem poles,but I never saw any cougars.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2014   General Artist
Depends on where you are; in the southern US many tribes had the cougar as the most important animal in their mythology. Same with others up north- the Erie indians supossedly get their name from mountain lions (they've even called cat-people), and then there's the water-panther.

As for ancient Mexican people, the cougar was indeed known and respected- the Maya for example had the "red tiger" (cougar) as an emblem of warriors.
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:iconbrendanboa:
brendanboa Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2013
Really like how you depicted them as sun bear-Asiatic black bear-ish. Most depict Arctodus or Arctotherium as something like a spectacled bear.
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:iconwdghk:
WDGHK Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2014
Well the spectacled bear is part of the short faced bear family so that makes sense.
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:iconsnakeman2013:
Snakeman2013 Featured By Owner May 1, 2013   General Artist
This picture makes me sad, but it is very good
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:iconoaglor:
Oaglor Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
Even his bear powers won't help him against civilization.
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:iconloatm:
loatm Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Impresionante y conmovedor.
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:icontigerbreath13:
tigerbreath13 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
[link] I've made a pic
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:iconkrajax:
Krajax Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012
Maybe when 2012 threatens to bring doom to planet Earth, a Mayan bear from the past can come save the day XD
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012   General Artist
I wouldn´t count on it; according to some Mayan myths, when the world does end, it will be because four giant beasts (usually said to be jaguars) will be unleashed from the Underworld to devastate the world
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:iconkrajax:
Krajax Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012
Super-Bear might as well get to some ass-kicking then XD
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:iconhoatziraptor:
Hoatziraptor Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012
impresionante y triste a la vez
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:iconjaldithas:
Jaldithas Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2012
looks quite plausible, maybe not for Giant short faced ones ( though it would be indeed amazig :D ) but for Tremarctos ornatus, as there have been found some subfossils of giant anteater in southern USA. But I agree, perhaps some now extinct race of American black bear might be more plausible
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:iconthemorlock:
TheMorlock Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Student General Artist
We know that Desmodus draculae survived to Mayan times.
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
Mesoamerican sculpture sometimes features elephant motifs, so it is feasible that mastodonts survived long enough to see ancient civilisations.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
I remember reading about that once.

That reminds me that there is a certain Maya sculpture of a dancer wearing an animal skin- usually said to be a coyote but I think it's bullshit; I've never seen a coyote with such a wide snout, rounded ears and most puzzling of all, a short tail. I think the Maya did know bears, giant or otherwise.
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
Perhaps the spectacled bear had a bigger distribution back then, or it could be a mexican grizzly.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
Both possible (fossils of spectacled bears have been found in Belize). It could also be the American Black Bear, which is the species that survives today in Mexico. (I have never seen one though :S)
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:iconpristichampsus:
Pristichampsus Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Professional General Artist
cool!
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:icontoshirotheknightwolf:
ToshirotheKnightWolf Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
interesting, might also explain the sightings of Ground Sloths
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
Wouldn´t Ground Sloths explain the sightings of Ground Sloths better? :p
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:icontoshirotheknightwolf:
ToshirotheKnightWolf Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
well, yes, but what i ment was, if the short face bear was living around the mayans, then maybe sloths were, so the cryptid....uhhhh, whats its name that i forget that people think might be live ground sloth.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
Mapinguari, but it is from South America, not Mexico.
I get your point, though.
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:icontoshirotheknightwolf:
ToshirotheKnightWolf Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
T^T ok, cause i was fryin me brain trying to think what i was saying.
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:iconavalarguardian:
AvalarGuardian Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow...
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist
Antes hubiera sido escéptco de una imagen así, pero ahora he oído varios casos de megafauna sobrevivientea idea no es imposible, por ejemplo hay restos de mastodontes en Colombia que son de hace unos 6.000 años...
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
Nada es imposible
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist
Revivirlos si parece serlo :(
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
No, no creo ke lo sea. Dificil, si, pero no imposible
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:iconzimices:
Zimices Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist
Hmmm, de pronto en veinte años, pero por ahora no creo, tendremos que conformarnos con seguir verlos en representaciones artísticas y uno que otro documental con animaciones.;)
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:iconmexicanzilla:
mexicanzilla Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Yo tambien escuche la noticia aer, esta interesante
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
Yo la lei el año pasado, no sé por qué apenas ahora llegó a los titulares en Mexico XD
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:icondinosauriandude:
DinosaurianDude Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
New insight to the Mapinguari perhaps?
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
I think the Mapinguari is more of a ground sloth...
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:icondinosauriandude:
DinosaurianDude Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Probably, but still...
A carnivorous bear better suits the man-eating-monster part, and also the claws seem to fit a bear
The inpenetrable crocodile like skin however points more to the ossified skin of giant ground sloths, as does the so called stench(a carnivorous mammal that has to hunt shouldn't be so smelly)
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
The Mapinguari has been said to kill people but not eat them; they are said to eat the center of palm trees.
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:iconakitymh:
AkityMH Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I didn't know those bears went so far south.
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
Who would try to stop them? :D
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:iconakitymh:
AkityMH Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I guess no one, but I always saw them as a norther animal. How far south did they go?
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
They lived all over the continent.
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:iconakitymh:
AkityMH Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
damn... south america, too?
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:iconhodarinundu:
HodariNundu Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2012   General Artist
Yes. And the last short faced bear- the Spectacled Bear- still lives there.
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