updated 5/24/2007 9:34:40 PM ET 2007-05-25T01:34:40

The skeleton of a bear-like creature believed to be about 60 million years old has been found in the North Dakota Badlands, the state paleontologist says.

The titanoides fossil was found during a survey of an oil drilling site north of Belfield, paleontologist John Hoganson said.

Partial skeletons have been found before in North Dakota, but the latest discovery could be complete or close to it, he said.

The landscape was much different when the titanoides roamed the area, Hoganson said.

"It was subtropical, for example, and it was a forested swampland. So during the time, it was somewhat similar to southern Florida today, and this titanoides actually lived in these forested habitats," he said.

Titanoides fossils were found in the fall of 2005 when an archaeologist was doing a survey for an oil well. Hoganson and Larry Melvin, a Forest Service official, decided to return for excavation work in the Grassy Butte area.

Hoganson said the titanoides was about 5 feet long, weighing between 200 and 300 pounds.

"It's a very rare, extinct mammal," Hoganson said. "They were about bear size, black bear size."

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