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The Natural History of Ursus Arctos Essay

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Physical Description: Ursus Arctos (or Brown Bear) is among the largest and most powerful of all land carnivores. They range from 91-153cm (3-5 feet) tall on all fours and range from 183-274cm (6-9 feet) while standing upright. The average weight of the Brown Bear depends on gender and its access to a consistent food source. An interior male Brown Bear averages around 247 kg (550lbs), while the female averages around 157 kg (350lbs). However, Brown Bears that live along the coast and have access to a more protein enriched diet can weigh up to 680kgs (1500lbs). The fur is usually dark brown, but can vary from black to light blonde and in very rare cases, white. Some Brown Bears located in the Rocky Mountains have long hairs along the shoulders and back with a frosted white look, which leads to the common name “grizzly bear”.
Systematics & Paleontology: The Brown Bear is classified under the order Carnivora. This order includes the placental mammals; most of which are land animals. Carnivora first appeared about 55 million years ago in the late Paleocene. The Order is split up traditionally into to suborders, the Pinnipedia and the Fissipedia. Although Fissipedia includes all land animals it is paraphyletic and therefor is not considered a valid taxon. Pinnipedia is interesting in the fact that it seems they have evolved from a bear-like land-living ancestor. Brown Bears are a part of the Family Ursida and more specifically the Genus Ursus. Brown Bears are thought to have evolved from the extinct species, Ursus Etruscus, which the oldest fossil record was found to date back 1.8 million years ago. Taxonomy research has shown that the Brown Bear is most closely related to the Polar Bear (Ursus Maritimus). Recent genetic studies ha...


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Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 1999. Canadian S
pecies at Risk: April 1999. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. 17 pp.

Hall, E. Raymond. 1984. Geographic Variation Among Brown and Grizzly Bears (Ursus Arctos)
in North America. Museum of Natural History. The University of Kansas. Lawrence, KS.

McLellan, B.N., Servheen, C. & Huber, D. 2008. Ursus arctos. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. . Downloaded on 06 March
2012.

McNamee, Thomas. 1984. The Grizzly Bear. N.Y.

National Geographic Society. Brown Bear. Accessed March 6, 2012.
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/brown-bear/


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