Polar bear classification

Danny McG

Sep 9, 2016
Cumbria UK
I've heard that a polar bear isn't a true bear, it's actually a member of the mink family.

I've done a Google but I've failed to get a definite yay or nay.
The most divergent bear is actually the giant panda. Who is nevertheless a bear.
The largest mink family members include wolverines, giant otters and sea otters.
It was a sentence in Emergence (1984) by David Palmer and I wondered if he'd simply made it up:-

And what about Kodiak bears? Comforting notion: 1,800 pounds of appetite.
And polar bears—11 feet long (not true bears at all; mink family—dispositions to match).
Both regarded among deadliest carnivores on planet.
Animals often get re-classified as scientists gain more information. For instance, when I was growing up, it was common knowledge that the giant panda was absolutely not a bear, despite appearances to the contrary ... and now science has established that it is.

As for polar bears, the fact that they can interbreed with other bears makes me wonder why anyone ever thought that they were related to minks instead. Maybe Palmer mistook a flippant remark made by someone else for fact, or was just being flippant himself.


Gore Vidal says that construction workers are from the fungus kingdom.
Did you know that hyaenas, normally seen as a type of dog, are actually closer to cats
Huh I didn't.

I did have a memory that the elephant's nearest relative is unexpected and went and checked
The elephant's nearest relative is the rock hyrax and the elephant, the rock hyrax and the manatee are descended from a common ancestor. The wonders of evolution.

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