New Species of Hyper-Intelligent Bear Found Frozen in Ice

Scientists have found the remains of a never-before-seen species of super-intelligent bear that may have stalked the forest of Yellowstone National Park centuries ago.

“This animal is quite possibly one of the greatest finds of the century,” said Dan Pendergast, the University of Chicago paleontology professor who led the team that discovered the animal.

During a geological survey in the park last Thursday, Pendergast and his students found the bear inside a block of ice. Pendergast named the animal “Yogipithicus” after his favorite New York Yankees’ player, Yogi Berra.

“At first glance, the bear would appear to be a member of the species Ursos Arctos, the common brown bear,” Pendergast said. “However, closer examination reveals several key differences.  For example, the length of the creature’s feet, as well as the straightness of the spine, suggests that the bear walked upright, rather than on all fours.”

The news has excited paleontologists across the world, according to William Rastio, editor at the Journal of Avocational Paleontology.

“The findings are staggering,” Rastio said. “Except for humans, there are very few animals that walk on their hind legs.”

The ability to walk upright is a beneficial evolutionary trait, Rastio said, and would have given this “Yogi” bear advantages over its competitors, especially when it came to evading predators or stealing food.

“In the ancient forests of America, this animal probably had it better than a millionaire,” Rastio said.

The perfectly preserved body was found at the base of a hill north of McBride Lake, about two miles south of the Montana-Wyoming border last Thursday.

Chicago University graduate student Sarah Kowalski, who was on scene at the time of the discovery, said that the dig crew was “stunned into silence.”

“We were walking and talking about nothing, really, when I noticed a green and black hat sticking out of a huge block of ice,” Kowalski said.

After scraping off the snow, students looked inside the transparent block and saw a large bear frozen in a pose that suggested it was reaching up for the hat.

The ice may have fallen from the upper slopes of a nearby hill as a result of the warmer weather, according to members of the research team.

“We were shocked, totally shocked, when we saw that the bear was also wearing a green piece of cloth – almost like a man’s tie – around its neck,” said Brian Hunter, a University of Chicago student. “And the tie was tied in a perfect Windsor knot. The bear was wearing no other clothing.”

Further examination revealed half of a picnic table and a picnic basket frozen in the ice next to the animal.

Students were at a loss to explain the presence of such modern items so close to the ancient specimen.

After the discovery, Pendergast sent his team further upslope to investigate. They found the rest of the basket and picnic table, along with a much smaller bear who appeared to have been frozen in the middle of a scream of terror.

“The ice age hit these bears fast,” Hunter said.

Later examinations of the two bears “demonstrated beyond all doubt that the larger bear had a huge brain and could have possessed a near human-level of intelligence,” according to  Marvin French, the University of Michigan professor of geological science who performed the autopsies.

“The smaller bear had an even larger cranial capacity, such that he might have been capable of the highest level of intellectual functioning: moral reasoning,” French said. “While the larger bear was probably the instigator of most of their actions, the smaller bear might have served as a moral brake on the larger bear’s aspirations, at least in theory.”

French’s initial conclusions have been criticized by other scientists – especially his theory that the bear’s massive brain, human-like tongue, mouth, throat, larynx and vocal folds “provide evidence that this species had the power of speech.”

Juwan Chen, a spokesperson for the Paleontology Society of America, said that though the find was amazing, French was going far “beyond the facts as they now stand.”

“Scientifically speaking, all we can say at this point is that Yogipithicus was definitely more intelligent than the average Urso Arctos,” Chen said.