Remains of 22 American black bears (Ursus americanus) were excavated from 2 natural trap caves in Missouri during the late 1950s. Age, sex, and size characteristics based on analysis of ursid teeth from the caves corroborates wildlife studies that suggest that subadult to young-adult male bears are relatively vulnerable to accidental deaths in their search for food compared to members of other age–sex cohorts. This information is of interest to wildlife biologists given that North American bears and humans increasingly share habitat. Data on native Missouri black bears are also of general interest because little is known about this population, which was extirpated by the beginning of the twentieth century, and because a reintroduced population is expanding in the southern portion of the state.
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Vol. 19 • No. 2