Why is it called the Arctic Circle?

| Linda Brown | Word & Idioms

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The word ‘Arctic’ derives from the Greek word ‘Arktikos’, meaning ‘near the bear’. It refers to the position of the polar star near the constellation of the ‘Great Bear’ (Ursa Major) that is located in the sky just above the Arctic. 

Others assert it is named after the Arctic Circle’s best-known habitat – the polar bear. 

Bonus fact 1: Though the polar bear’s fur appears to be white, it is actually hollow and semi-transparent.  

Bonus fact 2: The polar bears’ short tail and small ears help reduce heat-loss and are therefore perfect for the arctic freezing environment.

Bonus fact 3: Unlike other bears, male-polar-bears do not hibernate and remain alert and active throughout the year.

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And for those who are really into polar bears, here’s some more:

Polar bears, along with Kodiak bears, are the largest land dwellers, predators. Adult males weigh between 300 and 700 kilograms, and their bodies reach 2.4–3 meters in length. Bear puppies, however, weigh only 600–700 grams at birth.

At certain times, they have to walk in areas where the ice is thin. In these situations, their large legs act as snow sliders and disperse their weight over a larger area. For the same reason, when the ice is particularly thin, they will go “walking six” or “walking eight” – that is, they will also walk on their knees and elbows.

According to fossil findings and molecular studies, the polar bear and brown bear appear to have split roughly 200,000 years ago in rough estimation. Genetic studies suggest that some brown bear groups are genetically closer to polar bears than other brown bear groups.

Furthermore, there have been several occasions where polar bears have mated in their natural habitat with brown bears and formed fertile hybrids. This is further evidence of the genetic relationship between the sexes, which indicates a relatively late fragmentation. However, none of the species can survive, over time, in the other’s ecological niche since they differ in morphology, metabolism, nutrition, behavior, and other phenotypic characteristics.

And for those who are really into polar bears, here’s some more:

Polar bears, along with Kodiak bears, are the largest land dwellers, predators. Adult males weigh between 300 and 700 kilograms, and their bodies reach 2.4–3 meters in length. Bear puppies, however, weigh only 600–700 grams at birth.

At certain times, they have to walk in areas where the ice is thin. In these situations, their large legs act as snow sliders and disperse their weight over a larger area. For the same reason, when the ice is particularly thin, they will go “walking six” or “walking eight” – that is, they will also walk on their knees and elbows.

According to fossil findings and molecular studies, the polar bear and brown bear appear to have split roughly 200,000 years ago in rough estimation. Genetic studies suggest that some brown bear groups are genetically closer to polar bears than other brown bear groups.

Furthermore, there have been several occasions where polar bears have mated in their natural habitat with brown bears and formed fertile hybrids. This is further evidence of the genetic relationship between the sexes, which indicates a relatively late fragmentation. However, none of the species can survive, over time, in the other’s ecological niche since they differ in morphology, metabolism, nutrition, behavior, and other phenotypic characteristics.