Polar Bears - Good Luck Minis®
he most advanced methods for studying polar bears aren’t binoculars and cameras; they are molecular clocks and mitochondrial DNA. From DNA mapping and comparative analysis, scientists have learned that polar bears are a relatively recent adaptation of the brown bear family, perhaps dating to 150,000 years ago. Based on DNA studies, polar bears are most closely related to Alaskan brown bears, which should come as no surprise given their range. Their next closest relatives are other western brown bears and now-extinct cave bears. They’ve adapted to their far northern homes extremely rapidly, surviving several periods of warming and cooling, and they face climate challenges once again.