Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 24th, 2008
The extinct Atlas bear (Ursus crowtheri), above, continues to live on in dispute, even here on the pages of Cryptomundo. Today, round two in the battle between a German commentator and a French respondent.
Michel Raynal is one of the foremost cryptozoologists in Europe, the webmaster of Virtual Institute of Cryptozoology, the first French site devoted to cryptozoological research.
Raynal, pictured above, passes along some comments, below, in response to German comment maker Sordes’s claims on the Atlas bear published at Cryptomundo, which can be found more completely here:
“Around 1900 (or a bit later) bones of this animals were discovered in a cave associated with late roman artefacts”
Not around 1900: it was a discovery by Bourguignat (1867, 1870), but as no stratigraphic survey was made, the case was considered controversial.
“The Jardin de Plantes in Paris even housed a specimen which was a present from the emperor of Morocco.”
No, the specimen was sent to the Marseilles (not Paris) museum as mentioned by Loche (1867), but we have no remains of this animal (neither a skull nor a pelt), and no mention in the museum of Marseilles archives (which were burnt at one time).
“I have never heard before that the existence of the Atlas bear was ever in doubt. I made a lot of research about this animal for a chapter in my book about holocene megafauna-extinctions, and there was never any hint that there was criticisms about its existence”
I wonder what kind of research he made, as the existence of this bear was greatly disputed by such authorities as mammologist Angel Cabrera (1932) and even much more recently by Kazimierz Kowalski and Barbara Kowalska-Rzebik (1991), as stated on my own web pages, which provides the most documented analysis on the Atlas bear, including the data for the anecdotes above.
The referenced pages are in French, and can be found at Michel Raynal’s site, entitled “L’ours de l’Atlas a vraiment existé par Michel Raynal (dernière mise à jour : 08 octobre 2005)” and “L’ours de l’Atlas (dernière mise à jour : 09 août 1999).” Found at his Virtual Institute of Cryptozoology, and you will discover these French essays within his “Une discipline qui enregistre des succès (dernière mise à jour : 06 juillet 2003),” specifically here.