Cats and Dogs and Bears, Oh My!

by Isaiah Valdes, age 10

About 30 million years ago cats, dogs and bears were seen differently from how we see them now. It was a completely different time period; things that may not be acceptable now, were in fact a part of daily life back then.

The first cats were not very different from modern day cats, except for the fact that they were much bigger. Dinictis lived about 30 million years ago and were strong like today’s cougars or mountain lions, as they are sometimes called. When finding food, they probably hunted similarly to modern day cats by sneaking up on their prey then pouncing on it to bite its neck.

The first dog was called Hesperocyon. It had a long body and short legs like a mongoose or a stoat. It lived about 30 million years ago and measured abut 35 inches in length. It wasn’t until much later that dogs started having long legs and were able to run faster to catch their prey.

The huge cave bear of the Ice Age was as big as today’s average grizzly bear. But unlike the grizzly that you can safely watch at the zoo, these bears hunted humans. Also, unlike the people that you see at the zoo safely watching the bears, the people hunted the bears too. The bears left human bones in caves, and humans used the bears’ teeth and bones as ornaments.

I’m lucky to live in this time period where cats and dogs are now pets, and bears aren’t seen as such a big threat. Would you like to have a pet like a Hesperocyon? I know I wouldn’t!

[Source: 100 Things You Should Know About Pre-Historic Life]