Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails. Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for meat and fur.
About Bear in brief
Bears are carnivoran mammals of the family Ursidae. They are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans. Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, small rounded ears, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails. While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous, and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous with varied diets. Bears use shelters, such as caves and logs, as their dens; most species occupy their dens during the winter for a long period of hibernation, up to 100 days. Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur. The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, and even least concern species, like the brown bear, are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations are prohibited, but still ongoing. Nuclear analysis show that the karyotype of the six bears is nearly identical, with each having 74chromosomes. The closest living relatives of bears are the pinnipeds, canids, and spectacled canids. These can be explained by the 52 smaller numbers of the giant bear by the 42 chromosomes and the spectacles of the panda by the 54chromosome.
The Germanic name Bernard means bear-brave, or bear-hardy. Old English name kenning, for bear-wolf, is a turn-of-the-century name for a brave warrior in English. The name of the canton and city of Bern is derived from Bär, German for bear. Bear taxon names such as Ursus come from Latin UrsusUrsa, he-bearshe-bear. The female first name Ursula, originally derived from a Christian saint’s name, means little she-bear . In Switzerland, the male first name “Urs’s” is especially popular, while the name ‘Ursus’ is also used as a first name. The family of Ursidae is one of nine families, or suborder Caniformia, within the order Carnivora, or ‘doglike carnivors’. The oldest known euphemism for the bear is ‘arkto’, which is the oldest known word for the animal, and was used by early Germanic tribes as a taboo avoidance term. In modern times, bears have come under pressure through encroachment on their habitats and illegal trade in bear parts, including the Asian bile bear market. They have played a prominent role in the arts, mythology, and other cultural aspects of various human societies. The word ‘bear’ comes from Old English bera and belongs to a family of names for thebear in Germanic languages.