- Daily Mail -
When it comes to bears, the polar species is the new kid on the block. A rare fossil jaw found in Norway has revealed the snowy white bears only split from brown bears a meret 150,000 years ago, which is a blink of an eye in evolutionary terms.
Polar bears live much of the year on the Arctic sea ice and have become a symbol for environmental campaigners of the threat of global warming.
A polar bear mother and twin polar bear cubs, hunting on the Svalbard Archipelago,
Norway. Scientists have studied a 130,000-year-old polar bear ancestor jaw discovered in this region
New research suggests the species was able to rapidly adapt at a time when Earth was in the last stages of an ice age and was beginning to warm.
However, scientists have warned they may not be able to repeat this feat, should temperatures continue to rise.
'Our results confirm that the polar bear is an evolutionarily young species that split off from brown bears some 150,000 years ago and evolved extremely rapidly,' said Charlotte Lindqvist, from the University of Buffalo.