Yesterday I drove out to Missouri Institute of Natural Science, which is located on Cox Road South, a few hundred yards from Riverbluff Cave. The cave was discovered September 11, 2001 and has yielded fossil evidence of dozens of extinct animals dating back 1.5 million years. I wrote a book about the cave and its discovery called CAVE DETECTIVES, UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY OF AN ICE AGE CAVE, and served on the board during the years when the Missouri Institute of Natural Science and museum were going from dream to reality.
I also loaned my own bear skull to the museum. It’s the skull I found with a boyfriend in a small cave in southeast Springfield when we were twelve or so. I’ve been told it’s a black bear skull but somewhat different from today’s species. I haven’t had anyone study it but suppose it could be a subspecies and perhaps even an extinct one.
My reason for driving out to retrieve the skull is that I’m featuring it and its discovery in a new story I’m developing and I needed to have it beside me so I can describe it better.
Now it’s resting on my desk with replicas of a short-faced bear (the largest bear of all time) and a saber-tooth cat. My bear is dwarfed by both of those ancient, extinct carnivores. I thought you might like to see the contrast.