Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What color is a brown bear?

The title question is not at all simple. The range of coat colors among bears studied in Alaska and the nearby regions is amazing. We have black bears (Ursus americanus) which are brown and brown bears (Ursus arctos) which are black, just for starters. Then there are the blue-gray black bears and the white black bears. There are dark brown bears with striking blond cubs. There's even a black bear running around with a streak of reddish-brown hair running down the middle of its back, like a punker with a Mohawk haircut. The moral of the story: Genes are like cards. A deck will produce a lot of familiar hands, but also some pretty unusual ones.

Thanks to Meredith Fowke for this item.

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