National Geographic : 1955 Dec
© National Geographic Society 801 Painting by Andre Durenceau Fighting to Free a Comrade, Mountaineers Jab Lances into a Monstrous Bear North America's short-faced bears have disappeared. True bears (above) entered the New World in the Pleistocene, or Ice Age; a 1,500-pound descendant, the Alaska brown bear, remains land's largest flesh eater. Early Americans left no evidence that they preyed on the giant bear. Wounded or surprised, the animal must have been too fearsome an antagonist. Daggerlike claws greet the hunters who blundered into this brute's rocky lair. One rescuer drops lifeless. Reinforcements scramble along a mountain ledge. Spellbound, a child watches the battle.