Prehistoric polar bear find has elongated body type Inuit know as a ‘weasel bear’

polarbearscience

A story that broke in Alaska newspapers a month ago made the UK press this weekend about the archaeological discovery of 1,300 year old polar bear skull that may be associated with an unusual body type known to Inuit hunters. See the Mail Online cropped headline below, full storyhere– and some quotes and critical background below.

Weasel bear headline with skull graphic 18 March 2017

From the Alaska Daily Mail story (19 February 2017) below:

A huge, unusually shaped polar bear skull, left, emerged in 2014 from an eroding archaeological site southwest of Utqiagvik. It is quite different from most modern polar bear skulls, right. (UIC Science)

Aboriginal hunters from Arctic Canada have a couple of names for what they say is an extremely rare polar bear that is huge, narrow-bodied, fast-moving and lithe: “tiriarnaq” or “tigiaqpak,” meaning “weasel bear.”

Now the thawing and rapidly eroding Chukchi Sea coastal permafrost has produced evidence that one…

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