Authorities have determined that skeletal remains discovered Sunday afternoon in eastern Dawson County are those of a bear.
Dawson County Sheriff's deputies were called to a home on Hwy. 53 about 2 p.m. after reports that the family's dog had found what appeared to be a human hand.
On Monday, officers confirmed the bones were a bear paw.
"We were all pretty confident that it was from a bear from the beginning, but we had to make sure," said Sheriff's Capt. Tony Wooten.
Deputies sealed off the area with crime scene tape for about three hours while they investigated.
"We brought [them to] the coroner, who said the bones appeared to be from a bear," Wooten said. "Then we spoke to a taxidermist that lives nearby who confirmed he had worked on a bear about two weeks earlier."
Coroner Ted Bearden said the skeletal makeup of a human hand is similar to that of a bear paw.
"There are definitely enough similarities that I can see where they'd be concerned," he said.
Wooten said it's possible an animal may have gotten to the discarded pieces and dragged the paw into the woods, where the dog found it.