The earliest members of Ursidae belong to the extinct subfamily Amphicynodontinae, including Parictis (late Eocene to early middle Miocene, 38–18 Mya) and the slightly younger Allocyon (early Oligocene, 34–30 Mya), both from North America. These animals looked very different from today's bears, being small and raccoon-like in overall appearance, with diets perhaps more similar to that of a badger. Parictis does not appear in Eurasia and Africa until the Miocene. It is unclear whether late-Eocene ursids were also present in Eurasia, although faunal exchange across the Bering land bridge may have been possible during a major sea level low stand as early as the late Eocene (about 37 Mya) and continuing into the early Oligocene. European genera morphologically very similar to Allocyon, and to the much younger American Kolponomos (about 18 Mya), are known from the Oligocene, including Amphicticeps and Amphicynodon. There has been various morphological evidence linking amphicynodontines with pinnipeds, as both groups were semi-aquatic, otter-like mammals. In addition to the support of the pinniped–amphicynodontine clade, other morphological and some molecular evidence supports bears being the closet living relatives to pinnipeds.
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