Science, Tech, Math › Animals & Nature Atlas Bear Share Flipboard Email Print Animals & Nature Dinosaurs Basics Paleontologists Carnivores Dinosaurs & Birds Herbivores Marine Reptiles Prehistoric Mammals Amphibians Birds Habitat Profiles Mammals Reptiles Wildlife Conservation Insects Marine Life Forestry Evolution View More By Bob Strauss Science Writer B.S., Cornell University Bob Strauss is a science writer and the author of several books, including "The Big Book of What, How and Why" and "A Field Guide to the Dinosaurs of North America." our editorial process Bob Strauss Updated February 04, 2019 Stats Name: Atlas Bear; also known as Ursus arctos crowtherii Habitat: Mountains of northern Africa Historical Epoch: Pleistocene-Modern (2 million-100 years ago) Size and Weight: Up to nine feet long and 1,000 pounds Diet: Omnivorous Distinguishing Characteristics: Long, brown-black fur; short claws and muzzle About the Atlas Bear Named after the Atlas Mountains that spans modern-day Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, the Atlas Bear (Ursus Arctos crowtherii) was the only bear ever to be native to Africa. Most naturalists consider this shaggy giant to be a subspecies of the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos), while others argue that it deserves its own species name under the Ursus genus. Whatever the case, the Atlas Bear was well on its way to extinction during early historical times; it was hunted intensively for sport and captured for arena combat by the Romans that conquered northern Africa in the first century A.D. Scattered populations of the Atlas Bear persisted until the late 19th century, when the last remnants were wiped out in Morocco's Rif Mountains.