We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Where Did Polar Bears Originate?

Polar bears and brown bears don’t share many familial traits. They have different physical features, from body size and coat color to type of fur and tooth structure. Their lives are also very different. Polar bears are carnivores and expert swimmers, whereas brown bears live in the forest and subsist on an omnivorous diet. But a 2011 study of mitochondrial DNA indicates that the Arctic polar bear’s family tree goes back to now-extinct brown bears that roamed Ireland during the last ice age.

Climate's role in bear breeding:

  • Scientists made the discovery after analyzing the teeth and bones of 17 bears found in Irish caves. Climate change is believed to have produced mating opportunities during the past 100,000 years.
  • Environmental conditions have played a big role in the evolution of polar bears. Even today, scientists see modern polar bears encountering brown bears in places like Canada and Alaska.
  • Before this discovery, scientists previously thought that polar bears were related to brown bears living on the Alaskan islands of Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.