While preparing for a full day of filming, The Brain Scoop team was paid a surprise visit by a university groundskeeper who had discovered a black bear skull in the woods. It is so old!
– Yeah, that’s what I was saying: it was the oldest one he’d seen. And look at the molars, too. – Yeah. Holy cow.
– So yeah, well into his twenties. – These P2 normally, I mean, they have a double cusp on there and it’s almost worn all the way down to the root. This…It smells really bad. Well, it smells kinda bad.
– Kinda bad. – Yeah, this is nice. This is crazy. This – this is is a huge pathology.
– Yeah. – Look at that huge dental abscess!
– That— so, that decayed away like that? That’s the bone decaying away? Or did that just get worn off when he was dead? – Well, it kind of looks like…okay.
– Looks like some of the areas of the bone look like it was just sticking out, like right here. – Compared to the other side, you have this—this is all swollen here—where this root takes up about so much space, you can see where this is expanded and there’s all of this additional swelling and growth on there.
– Okay. – And then you can tell it’s an old injury because he lost the tooth—this is worn over—and there is actually wear… – So, he lost that tooth when he was alive?
– Yeah, oh yeah. – That’s friggin’ cool.
– Yeah, no, this is awesome.
– Good. – So yeah, this is definitely an old injury. This is crazy, is that a broken tooth or is that like actually embedded into the front of his mouth? – I have no idea.
– I think that probably just probably broke out. – Well, there’s a broken thing there, yeah. Maybe.
– That is crazy. Are you getting this on camera?
– Uh-huh. – But look at it, can you see that— how worn that tooth is right there? – You can take it out, though it’d probably stink a little bit. – Yeah, I don’t wanna test it right now.
– I had him in the… freezer for the last few days. – This looks great. Oh and this is all crazy, too: it has all this bone loss and swelling and that… I would estimate that this guy is really old. I mean, I don’t know how to age definitively. – Yeah, that’s— I was talking to the game warden; he sent it to his bear guy and he said that one way you can tell is cutting a tooth, and he said late twenties. He said well into his twenties.
– Oh yeah. I’d believe it. ‘Cause these are so worn, the cusps are totally gone on them.
– That’s cool that you can tell all that was while he was still alive, that that didn’t happen after he died. – Oh, no way. I mean there’s all this wear on this, too. It means that he was still eating on this tooth when—after it was damaged. – This is how bears get angry.
– That’s why I thought he was a grizzly, I mean, his body was big—I mean, his skeleton was big. Do you have a grizzly skull so I can compare it?
– Yeah, we do. They’re on that side of the museum, but… This guy’s crazy.
– Do I need to wash him off before the beetles? – You know, I don’t even think that you need to put it in the beetles.
– I don’t? – ‘Cause there’s… No.
– But there were a couple chunks, there was a little bit on his jaw and there’s… – They’ll come off if you soak it overnight in hydrogen peroxide— in a three percent solution— and we can do that in the lab, too. – All of the tissue, it’ll become loose once it’s rehydrated and we will be able to pull it right off.
– ‘Cause yeah, there’s a little bit down there. – Thank you, Hank!
– This is a big one.
– Holy crap! – Yeah, it is a huge one, that is a grizzly bear skull.
– See, now, that’s what I was wondering about. So the sagittal crest, I saw a picture out there… Yeah, way bigger on a grizzly. – And then this is how you can definitively tell if it’s a grizzly or a black bear: obviously this guy’s a lot smaller, but this last molar is going to be at least 31 centimeters (*millimeters). – Is this a Montana grizzly?
– Yeah. This was collected by John and Frank Craighead. – The Craighead brothers?
– The Craighead brothers, yeah. In Yellowstone Park in the 1960s. – I guess there was that—those two that died that were 700 pounds or more.
– Yeah. I mean, these guys are huge, too. So this is one whole tooth. And it’s absolutely massive. – And this guy… doesn’t really have any of those left.
– No. And his are pro- I mean…
– Yeah, his are worn, his are missing. – They’re probably half that size.
– God, that’s a… big freakin’ animal.
– This guy is massive. He’s, this one’s really old, too. – How big do they think that bear was?
– I wouldn’t know, um…big. Large sized bear size. But yeah, that’s awesome!
– Fo’ shizzle!
– That was awesome! This is gonna be on YouTube, by the way. It still has brains on it.