Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae.
Mammals are any vertebrates within the class Mammalia, a clade of endothermic amniotes distinguished from reptiles and birds by the possession of a neocortex, hair, three middle ear bones and mammary glands.
In biological classification, family is one of the eight major taxonomic ranks; it is classified between order and genus.
Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives.
Pinnipeds, commonly known as seals, are a widely distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals.
Although only eight species of bears are extant, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere.
A habitat is an ecological or environmental area that is inhabited by a particular species of animal, plant, or other type of organism.
In male gay culture, a bear is often a larger, hairier man who projects an image of rugged masculinity.
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank.
Bears are found on the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres and sharing the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe.
South America is a continent located in the western hemisphere, mostly in the southern hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the northern hemisphere.
Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.
Common characteristics of modern bears include large bodies with stocky legs, long snouts, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and short tails.
In terrestrial animals, plantigrade locomotion means walking with the toes and metatarsals flat on the ground.
While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous, and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous with varied diets.
A carnivore meaning 'meat eater' is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation or scavenging.
The polar bear is a carnivorous bear whose native range lies largely within the Arctic Circle, encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses.
Omnivore is a consumption classification for animals that have the capability to obtain energy and nutrients from materials originating from plant and animal origin.
With the exception of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals.
Courtship is the period in a couple's relationship which precedes their engagement and marriage, or establishment of an agreed relationship of a more enduring kind.
Solitary animals are those that spend a majority of their lives without others of their species, with possible exceptions for mating and raising their young.
They are generally diurnal, but may be active during the night or twilight, particularly around humans.
Diurnality is a plant or animal behavior characterized by activity during the day, with a period of sleeping, or other inactivity, at night.
Bears possess an excellent sense of smell and, despite their heavy build and awkward gait, are adept runners, climbers, and swimmers.
In autumn, some bear species forage large amounts of fermented fruits, which affects their behavior.
Bears use shelters, such as caves and burrows, as their dens; most species occupy their dens during the winter for a long period of sleep similar to hibernation.
Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in endotherms.
Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur.
Prehistory means literally "before history", from the Latin word for "before," præ, and Greek ιστορία.
Bear hunting is the act of hunting bears.
With their tremendous physical presence and charisma, they play a prominent role in the arts, mythology, and other cultural aspects of various human societies.
Mythology can refer to the collected myths of a group of people—their collection of stories they tell to explain nature, history, and customs—or to the study of such myths.
The arts represent an outlet of expression, that is usually influenced by culture and which in turn helps to change culture.
Korean mythology consists of national legends and folk-tales which come from all over the Korean Peninsula.
In modern times, the bears' existence has been pressured through the encroachment on their habitats and the illegal trade of bears and bear parts, including the Asian bile bear market.
Bile bears, sometimes called battery bears, are bears kept in captivity to harvest their bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder, which is used by some traditional Chinese medicine practitioners.
A market trend is a perceived tendency of financial markets to move in a particular direction over time.
The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, and even least concern species, such as the brown bear, are at risk of extirpation in certain countries.
A vulnerable species is one which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
Local extinction, or extirpation, is the condition of a species that ceases to exist in the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere.
The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations are prohibited, but still ongoing.