Skip to content

Polar bear diet: Fat, fat and more fat

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/9/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

How do these husky white bruins remain healthy on such a diet?

Polar bears - those white-hued iceberg living bruins that appear to be poster children for global warming, are remarkably healthy - by subsisting on a diet of fat, fat and even more fat. How can these sturdy survivors, who swim great lengths of water and endure unconscionably cold conditions continue to thrive on a diet like that? Researchers have a surprising answer to that question -

A baby polar bear drinks milk that's 27 percent fat - small change compared to the two percent us humans drink out of a carton.

A baby polar bear drinks milk that's 27 percent fat - small change compared to the two percent us humans drink out of a carton.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/9/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Polar bears, fat, diet, longevity, genes, evolution


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The polar bear's white fur is a big help as it helps them blend in with ice floes to sneak up on their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their body fat also helps them to stay warm.

More importantly, polar bears have genes that help them live on a diet that's overloaded with fat. This helps them withstand the sorts of human diseases that typically come with a fat-heavy diet.

Find out how you can fill the gaps to end world hunger - by going here!

A baby polar bear drinks milk that's 27 percent fat - small change compared to the two percent us humans drink out of a carton. Adults feed mostly on blubbery seals which allows them to build up so much insulation that bears can be 50 percent fat by weight.

It's highly unlikely that polar bears could survive as a species if they hadn't developed an ability to live on a high-fat diet. So what's their secret?

Researchers say they've found clues in the genes of polar bears. An international team has taken a close look at the polar bear genome to understand how this species split off from its close cousin, the brown bear.

The genes related to fur color have mutated, as expected. The changes occur in a genetic region that's linked to a human condition called Chediak-Hikashi syndrome, which causes loss of pigment in the skin and eyes.

These genes seem key to polar bear evolution are gives an indication as to how these animals handle their fatty diet. A gene called VCL is linked to heart disease in humans. In polar bears, this gene has undergone a dramatic evolution, compared with the VCL gene in the brown bear.

There's something else that's endangering this species, however. The sea ice that polar bears use as a platform to catch seals is shrinking, threatening the species' existence.

"Based on this evidence, we argue that potentially important reorganization of the cardiovascular system has taken place in polar bears since their divergence from brown bears," researchers write.

The rapid genetic changes might also have been spurred on by the long-distance swimming that polar bears do. Bears that have cardiovascular genes that help endurance are presumably at an advantage, so those genes are more likely to be passed on to future generations.

The report suggests that polar bears evolved quite recently - just 400,000 years ago. That may prove to be contentious. Another puts the split between brown bears and polar bears at four million to five million years ago.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JULY 2017
Lapsed Christians.
That our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the merciful closeness of the Lord and the beauty of the Christian life.


Comments


More Health

Doctors test CRISPR technique on babies, then abort them Watch

Image of Science can help us make perfect babies, but is that what God intends?

Doctors in the U.S. have manipulated the genes in unborn babies for the first time. Following the experiment, which scientists say was ... continue reading


As more women learn, they are ditching the pill and other contraceptives Watch

Image of People are changing their minds about the pill and other contraceptives.

For some, it was a health-conscious decision. For others, it was environmental. For still others, it was faith-based. Washington D.C. ... continue reading


Obamacare's systematic, legal euthanasia program that's killing TENS OF THOUSANDS Watch

Image of Tens of thousands of people are dying each year under Obamacare's secret euthanasia programs.

Delray, Florida is the addiction recovery capitol of the world. Over the past few decades, tens of thousands of people have come to the ... continue reading


Contraceptive pills are making fish 'trans' as hormones pollute water supply Watch

Image of Contraceptives in our water supply are turning fish transgender.

Contraceptive pills are making fish "transgendered" as the pills enter the water supply, according to a new study. The study beings ... continue reading


111 DEAD - Death toll mounts under California suicide law, will the children and elderly be next? Watch

Image of California law now allows doctors to kill their patients.

During the first six months that California has allowed doctors to violate their Hippocratic oath by poisoning patients, 111 people have ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.