Approximate Dates of Origin of Bear Species

from Bears of the World by Lance Craighead, Ph.D.

SPECIES DATE OF ORIGIN
FROM FOSSIL
EVIDENCE
DATE OF ORIGIN
FROM GENETIC
EVIDENCE 
AREA OF ORIGIN
Panda Bear
Superfamily
Ailuropodinae
> 15 MYA*
Agriarctos
18-22 MYA*Central Asia
Short-faced Bear
Superfamily
Tremarctinae
> 6 MYA*
Plionarctos
12-15 MYA*North America
Giant Short-faced Bear
Artodus simus
North America
Spectacled Bear
Tremarctos ornatus
South America
True Bear
Family Ursidae
> 5 MYA*

Ursus minimus

4-8 MYA*Northeastern Asia
Sloth Bear
Ursus ursinus
7 MYA*
South-central Asia
(India?)
Sun Bear
Ursus malayanus
5 MYA*
South-east Asia
(Islands?)
Asiatic Black Bear
Ursus thibetanus
 5 MYA*
Central Asia
(Himalayas?)
American Black Bear
Ursus americanus
> 3.5 MYA* 5 MYA*
North America
Giant Panda
Ailuropoda melanoleuca
> 600,000 years ago
Central Asia
(China?)
Brown Bear
Ursus arctos
> 500,000 years ago
(China)
> 900,000 years ago

(France)

 1 MYA*Northern Asia
Polar Bear
Ursus maritimus
c 300,000 years ago 1 MYA*Northern Siberia
Cave Bear
Ursus spelaus
> 300,000 years ago

(Europe)

Europe

* million years ago


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