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Polar Bear Club

Polar Bear Club

Polar bears are excellent swimmers and have been seen in open Arctic waters, as far as 110 kilometers (60 nautical miles) from land. The bears’ long, tapered bodies streamline them for swimming, and they have a 12-centimeter (5-inch) layer of fat that makes them more buoyant in water. Scandinavians call them “ice bears,” but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The bears really live on an ocean, albeit an ice-covered one, so they are considered marine mammals. Their scientific name, Ursus maritimus, comes from the Latin words for “bear” and for “sea.” (Photo by Chris Linder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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