Millions of years ago Polar Bears were separated from other Brown Bears into a whole new species. Well, what is the difference between polar bears and brown bears?
For starters, Polar bears are quite a bit larger than even the Kodiak grizzly brown bear. The normal polar bear weighs in at an average of 1120 lbs, which, for a fun fact, makes them the largest land predators on our planet Earth. The largest grizzly bear, the Kodiak, averages about 720lbs. Polar bears have large and more round eyes that enables them to have fantastic eyesight, much better than those of the brown bear.
What is another difference between polar bears and brown bears? Polar bears have a longer and more elongated nose and body compared to brown bears They also have a better sense of smell that is crucial to their hunting seals in larger, more open spaces in the Arctic. The polar bear’s ears and tails are smaller to prevent freezing in the harsh cold and they have longer and sharper teeth used to cut through the blubber of their Arctic prey.
They have larger and more powerful hind quarters (their legs are stronger than the average bear) with shorter claws and webbed feet to help them swim and keep a good grip on ice. These are important for polar bears because they swim often to hunt seals and other sea life. They also live on the frozen ocean in the Arctic Circle (see: polar bear habitat) so easily gripping the slipper ice is key to their survival. Polar Bears are also able to absorb a greater amount of nutrients from their food because of the environment in which they live. Another difference between polar bears and brown bears is that the polar bear has black skin under their fur that is used absorb the heat of the sun’s rays to keep the polar bear warm. The last difference between polar bears and brown bears is their fur. Polar bears have thick, white fur to that sits atop their black skin that keeps them warming where as brown bears are, of course, brown furred. Interestingly enough with all these differences, polar bears are direct decedents of brown bears, and they are genetically similar. So similar in fact that they can cross breed. Below is a supposed photo of a cross bred brown bear and a polar bear called a prizzly or a grolar bear. You can see how it takes on characteristics of both species of bears. It has extreme size but the normal face of a brown bear. Scientists think that with the melting of the polar ice caps, their will be more of these hybrid bears in the future as the polar bear moves southward into the brown bear’s habitat.