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British Wildlife is the leading natural history magazine in the UK, providing essential reading for both enthusiast and professional naturalists and wildlife conservationists. Published eight times a year, British Wildlife bridges the gap between popular writing and scientific literature through a combination of long-form articles, regular columns and reports, book reviews and letters.

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Academic & Professional Books  Palaeontology  Palaeozoology & Extinctions

Chasing the Ghost Bear On the Trail of America's Lost Super Beast

By: Mike Stark(Author)
227 pages, 23 plates with 20 b/w photos and 9 b/w illustrations
Chasing the Ghost Bear
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  • Chasing the Ghost Bear ISBN: 9781496229021 Paperback Mar 2022 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 6 days
Price: £21.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

No animal shakes the human consciousness quite like a bear, and few compare to the giant short-faced bears that stalked North America during the Pleistocene. Even among the mammoths and sabre-toothed cats, they were a staggering sight: on all fours, the biggest would stare a six-foot person in the face and weigh close to a ton. On hind legs, they towered more than ten feet, with jaws powerful enough to crush skulls and snap bones like twigs.

The bears weren't invincible, however. Despite their size, they were swept off the planet in a mysterious wave of Ice Age extinctions more than ten thousand years ago, then mostly forgotten. Chasing the Ghost Bear is Mike Stark's journey into the bear's enigmatic story – its life, disappearance, and rediscovery – and those trying to piece it together today. An engaging guide through his intrepid search, Stark's story leads us from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles to a cornfield in Indiana, the far ends of the Arctic, the plains of Texas, and the swamps of Florida.

Part natural history, part travelogue, and part meditation on extinction and loss Chasing the Ghost Bear returns these magnificent beasts to their rightful place in our understanding of the world just an epoch past.


List of Illustrations

Part 1: The Beast Is Here
1. Into the Dark
2. Skull
3. A Family of Bears
4. Bone Trove
5. Inside
6. Into the Pleistocene
7. Bears in Proximity
8. Bears Are Everywhere

Part 2: Goo
9. La Brea
10. Hiding in the Muck
11. Teeth and Bones
12. A Surge of Discovery

Part 3: Bones
13. What Happened in Fulton County
14. Real Monsters
15. A Hoosier’s Search
16. Dispossessed

Part 4: North and South
17. Fitful Arrivals
18. Imagining Arctodus
19. The Great and Far North
20. Lubbock
21. Ancient Hunters

Part 5: Last Stand
22. Endings
23. What Happened?
24. De-extinction


Customer Reviews


Mike Stark is a former reporter for the Associated Press and the Billings Gazette and is the author of Wrecked in Yellowstone: Greed, Obsession, and the Untold Story of Yellowstone’s Most Infamous Shipwreck. He lives in Tucson, Arizona, and is the creative director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

By: Mike Stark(Author)
227 pages, 23 plates with 20 b/w photos and 9 b/w illustrations
Media reviews

"Thank heavens for Mike Stark for rummaging around in creepy caves, unearthing remote museum curators, and otherwise doing the far-flung homework needed to bring us this compelling elegy to one of prehistoric North America's most spectacular carnivores."
– Paul Schullery, author of Lewis and Clark among the Grizzlies and The Bear Doesn't Know

"A finely crafted mosaic of natural history, historical drama, and personal odyssey – seasoned with musings about the impermanence of life [...] Mike Stark has managed to bring back to life not only this fascinating animal – Arctodus simus, the giant short-faced bear – but also the paleontologists who risked life and limb pursuing its scattered remains."
– David Mattson, former longtime grizzly bear scientist for the National Park Service and U.S. Geological Survey

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