Monday, November 15, 2010

Polar Bears

The temperature in my area has dipped for several days of a raw 50 degrees (okay, so we're not much into cold weather, but that's what passes for cold around here), and we're pulling out our long-sleeved shirts and light jackets. In some idle hope that we might have snow again this winter, my thoughts turned to polar bears, and I learned some interesting things:

1. Polar bear fur is not white. It's colorless, but the bear's skin is black.

2. The polar bear is considered to be a marine mammal. It's feet are partially webbed, and it's fur is oily so that it can repel water.

3. "Ursulus maritimus" is the scientific name for the polar bear, which in Greek means "Sea Bear."

4. To tell how old a polar bear is, you have to do tree-ring testing on its teeth. The polar bear grows a new layer of cementum every year. (I'm not volunteering for that job.)

5. When a polar bear swims under water, it's nose closes so that water won't get in.

Well, I'll keep dreaming of a white winter -- just not so white that I'll actually see any polar bears.

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