Scientists have discovered a new species of mammal that is a mixture of cat, otter and bear. Eoarktos, as it was called, was found back in the 1940s in North Dakota, but only 80 years later were scientists able to thoroughly study and describe the animal. It belongs to the arctoides, a group of mammals that includes bears, seals, and other animals.
Judging from the fossils, eoarktos possessed raccoon-like body proportions, and its claws were similar to those of a cat. It probably used them for climbing trees in the marshy area where it lived. Although it was not the most ancient member of the Arctoid group, this find allowed scientists to understand how this group of mammals originated.
According to the researchers, eoarktos was not a runner, but rather a climbing animal that fed on the ground but could easily climb a tree to hide from larger predators. Its behavior resembled that of a raccoon, but its jaws are still a mystery to scientists. The animal had teeth damage, which was common among this species. These animals were doing something that caused their side teeth to grind down and break.
Eoarktos breaks new ground in the study of mammal evolution and helps scientists understand how groups that include bears, seals and other animals came to be. This find may also help scientists understand what other species may be related to arctoids and how they evolved over millions of years.