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However, the two species have mated intermittently for all that time, most likely coming into contact with each other during warming periods, when polar bears were driven onto land and brown bears migrated northward.
Most brown bears have about 2 percent genetic material from polar bears, but one population, the ABC Islands bears has between 5 percent and 10 percent polar bear genes, indicating more frequent and recent mating.
Research of injury patterns in polar bear forelimbs found injuries to the right forelimb to be more frequent than those to the left, suggesting, perhaps, right-handedness.
Unlike the brown bear, polar bears in captivity are rarely overweight or particularly large, possibly as a reaction to the warm conditions of most zoos.
The 42 teeth of a polar bear reflect its highly carnivorous diet.
The hollow guard hairs of a polar bear coat were once thought to act as fiber-optic tubes to conduct light to its black skin, where it could be absorbed; however, this hypothesis was disproved by a study in 1998.
These areas, known as the "Arctic ring of life", have high biological productivity in comparison to the deep waters of the high Arctic.
In Hudson Bay, James Bay, and some other areas, the ice melts completely each summer (an event often referred to as "ice-floe breakup"), forcing polar bears to go onto land and wait through the months until the next freeze-up.
The Polar Bear Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission takes the position that "estimates of subpopulation size or sustainable harvest levels should not be made solely on the basis of traditional ecological knowledge without supporting scientific studies." Its preferred habitat is the annual sea ice covering the waters over the continental shelf and the Arctic inter-island archipelagos.They can occasionally drift widely with the sea ice, and there have been anecdotal sightings as far south as Berlevåg on the Norwegian mainland and the Kuril Islands in the Sea of Okhotsk.It is difficult to estimate a global population of polar bears as much of the range has been poorly studied; however, biologists use a working estimate of about 20–25,000 or 22–31,000 polar bears worldwide.rather than indicating that they have only recently diverged, the new evidence suggests more frequent mating has continued over a longer period of time, and thus the two bears remain genetically similar.However, because neither species can survive long in the other's ecological niche, and because they have different morphology, metabolism, social and feeding behaviours, and other phenotypic characteristics, the two bears are generally classified as separate species.
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it has evolved to occupy a narrower ecological niche, with many body characteristics adapted for cold temperatures, for moving across snow, ice and open water, and for hunting seals, which make up most of its diet.