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        Studying the Structure and Function of Bears | Wild Alaska

        Brown bears are carnivores, with sharp teeth, pointy claws, and big muscles to help them shear through meat. Black bears, however, eat many kinds of food, and their anatomy reflects it. Comparative anatomist Dr. Joy Reidenberg and Alaska teacher Tracy Espeland team up in the first video to observe and compare some physical features of the black bear and brown bear skulls, teeth, and claws. In the second video, Dr. Reidenberg draws connections between these features and the varied diets and behaviors they support.

        Observing Bear Structures

        Dr. Joy Reidenberg and Alaska teacher Tracy Espeland observe the differences between black and brown bears’ skulls and claws. Compared with brown bears, black bears have relatively small claws and skulls with flat teeth. Brown bears have relatively big, sharp teeth and hooked claws.

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        Dr. Joy Reidenberg Explains Bear Functions

        Explore how the physical differences between black and brown bears relate to their different diets and behaviors. Brown bears—fierce carnivores—have pointy teeth and a large, crested skull to support back and neck muscles. Black bears are much smaller, with flat teeth, to eat both plants and meat.

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