Scientists have unearthed what they consider are the fossils of the largest ever known bear that might have stood at 11 feet tall and lived between two million to 500,000 years ago, during the building of a hospital in La Plata City, Argentina.

Scientists who examined the remains suppose they are of a South American giant short-faced bear, called Arctotherium angustidens, the earliest and biggest member of its genus, Live Science reported.

Based on measurements of the fossil’s leg bones and equations used to estimate body mass, the researchers supposed the bear would have stood at least 11 feet (3.3 meters) tall on its hind legs and would have weighed between 3,500 and 3,855 pounds (1,588 and 1,749 kg).

In comparison, “the largest record for a living bear is a male polar bear that obtained the weight of about 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg),” said Leopoldo Soibelzon, a paleontologist at the La Plata Museum.

“During its time, this bear was the largest and most influential land predator in the world,” said study co-author Blaine Schubert, a paleontologist. Although this bear perhaps had an omnivorous diet, flesh likely dominated.

“Its large size and great power may have allowed the bear to fight for prey hunted by other Pleistocene carnivores such as the saber-toothed cat,” Schubert said.

According to the researchers, when the bears arrived in South America some 2.6 million years ago, there were few other big predators at the time.

Taking advantage of the large amount of prey, the species grew enormously and eventually became extinct after more carnivores evolved in South America, they said. The new discoveries were published in the Journal of Paleontology.

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