Modern Bears (Family Ursidae) are the largest living members of the Order Carnivora. In general, they have heavy bodies but can stand on their hind legs and grab things with their front paws. Their feet are plantigrade and hairless (except for the polar bear), and they feature five toes with nonretractile claws. Worldwide, there are only eight species; along with the Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), they descended from a common ancestor, the Dawn bear (Ur-
savus elemensis), about 20 million years ago, in the Early Miocene. The first true bears turned up in both the Old and New World about 5 million years ago, in the Pliocene. The Giant short-faced bear (Arctodus simus) of the Pleistocene must have been the most fearsome predator in North America, standing 11 feet tall on its long hind legs and capable of short bursts of speed in chasing its prey. The smaller Brown bear (Ursus arctos) replaced it at the end of the Ice Ages.
Brown bears vary widely in coloration and size. The Kodiak bear (U. a. middendorffi), which lives on several islands in the Gulf of Alaska, is the largest living terrestrial carnivore. Adult males average 8 feet from nose to tail, stand 4 feet 4 inches at the shoulder, and weigh 1,050-1,175 pounds. The greatest recorded weight for a wild specimen was 1,656 pounds for a male shot on Kodiak Island in 1894. The Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is sometimes longer but less robustly built.
Of the sixteen bearlike cryptids listed here, three are North American, three are South American, seven are Asian, and three are African. Although the NanDI Bear is included, it is here only because it has been incorrectly named and is more likely to turn out to be a Hyena or PriMATi; it also appears in those lists. The STFF-LEGGED Bear, which might reasonably be considered a Native American folk memory of the giant short-faced bear, has also been colisted with the Elephants because some think it represents a legend of a living mammoth.
Atlas Bear; BAi-Xi6ng; BergmanS Bear; Dre-Mo; DzuTeh; Irkuiem; Macarena Bear; MacFarlane's Bear; Milne; Murung River Bear; Nandi Bear; Nepalese Tree Bear; Pygmy Brown Bear; Qoqogaq; Stff-Legged Bear; Too
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