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Temporal range: Middle Pleistocene – Early Holocene
|An artist's interpretation of Arctodus pristinus|
| †Arctodus pristinus|
Arctodus Simus, also known as the short-faced bear, was a very large bear living in the Americas during the Pleistocene. It was the most common early North American bear and was most abundant in California.The name short-faced bear derives from the shape of their skulls, which appear to have a proportionally short snout compared to other bears; this characteristic is also shared by its extant relative the spectacled bear. However, this apparent shortness is an optical illusion caused by their deep snouts and short nasal regions. The scientific name of the genus, Arctodus, derives from the Greek language and means "bear tooth".
The short-faced bear belongs to a group of bears known as the Tremarctinae, which appeared in the Americas during the earliest parts of the late Miocene epoch in the form of Plionarctos, a genus considered ancestral to Arctodus, Arctotherium and the modern spectacled bear. Although the early history of Arctodus is poorly known, it evidently became widespread in North America by the Kansan age about 800,000 years ago.