Museum Ladin Ursus ladinicus
In summer 2011, the Museum of bears was opened in Alta Badia and dedicated to one of the oldest inhabitants of the valley: the cave bear. He was named after the place where he was found and is also called “Ursus ladinicus”.
The ancestors of the bears lived about 40.000 years ago. In the 80s, a vast number of fossil bones were found near Abtei. It turned out that they were the remains of an extinct, previously unknown bear.
Nowadays, visitors have the possibility to get to know this extraordinary animal, his history and way of life in St. Kassian in a three-floor museum with a really huge exhibition area.
The museum is a branch of the Museum Ladin Ciastel de Tor, which is 20 km far from St. Kassian. To make the interior of the new sections of Ladin Museum Dedicated to Ursus Ladinicus, the Austrian architect Rainer Verbizh, the same of the construction of Ciastel de Tor.
On the ground floor of the museum, there are the cash desk and the shop. The exhibition starts at the first floor, where the geological genesis of the Dolomites is shown. There are also shown a lot of fossils and minerals of the surroundings.
The next interesting item on the programme is the development and discovery of the Conturines Cave and the cave bear. The highlights of the exhibition are the original remains, among them some teeth of the bear and a completely reconstituted skeleton of the bear. Downstairs, there is a recreated bear’s den with a sleeping bear in it.
The prehistoric bear of the Dolomites
On the 23rd of September 1987, the landlord and alpine guide Willy Costamoling, who came from Alta Badia, found the cave laying at 2.800 m sea level and revealed its secret. A team of researchers of the University of Vienna examined the place of discovery carefully and came to the spectacular result that a new species of bears and the remains of a cave lion had been discovered.
Nowadays, we know among other things that the “Ursus ladinicus” was almost as large as a grizzly bear. But in contrast to the grizzly bear he only ate plants, due to the fact that the forest boundary touched till his cave. Quite likely, the prehistoric climate was much warmer than it is today.