Although they are similar habitats in some ways, the Arctic and Antarctica are home to very different animals. Although both poles are home to a wide variety of seal and whale species, the Arctic is home to Polar bear.
Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be found around the Arctic Circle in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia, part of Denmark, and sometimes Iceland. But Antarctica also has sea ice, cold temperatures, and seals, so why aren’t there polar bears in the south?
“Bears are very much a Northern Hemisphere phenomenon,” said Andrew Desrocher, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta in Canada who has studied polar bears for nearly 40 years. Live Science.
According to him, there is no specific reason for this, only that some species develop in some places and others do not. “Biogeography is full of oddities,” Andrew explained. “Some species have reached new places and some have not.”
Evolutionarily speaking, polar bears are a relatively small species. It evolved from a common ancestor of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) sometime between 5 million and 500,000 years ago, according to the expert. But even 5 million years ago, the continents were in a similar position to what they are today, so polar bears have never had a chance to travel between the poles.
To reach Antarctica, polar bears will have to cross the Drake Passage, which is called the most dangerous sea in the world. The region is known for its fierce storms and rough seas, where cold waters from the south rush into warm waters from the north.
But if polar bears had the chance, would they survive in Antarctica? According to Andrew, “They will have a lot of fun in Antarctica.” In the Arctic, it feeds on seals and sometimes on birds or eggs. Antarctica is abundant in all three, and is home to six species of seals and five species of penguins.
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Furthermore, none of these animals have evolved to be wary of large terrestrial predators. Antarctic landscapes will be a free polar bear buffet, which is why no one should be bringing polar bears there.
Their voracious appetites, combined with the local fauna’s ignorance of large terrestrial predators, likely lead to ecological collapse. So it is better for them to continue to live in the north.
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