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Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

Whats the difference between the Alaskan Brown Bear and a Grizzzly in Alaska ?
I know one tends to be larger than the other but other than that why do they have two names? I have a good idea of the reason but I would like to hear what others think. In the photo attached which one was this that I found outside my door?

~Jeff~

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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

Good question, I have gone round and round with folks on this one in the past. From a taxonomy/biological standpoint there is zero difference, the grizzly (whether up there or down here) is the same as a brown bear or a kodiak or a siberian brown bear. They are all the same species which is different from black bear.

This isn't to say there are not regional difference in physical appearance, but they are all interbreedable. It is kind of like what is the difference between a person of asian decent and one of italian decent. They are both people, but they have relatively minor differences in average skin color, eye color, hair color, average height, and weight.

Grizzly get there name because some brown bears (especially those in the lower 48, what few there are) tend to have longer hair with a lighter colored fringe. They just look more gnarly and grizzled than the sleek coated variety that dine on fish all the time.

As for what you found outside your door, I'd call it Ursus arctos. How's that for avoiding the question? Wink

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Location: Colorado
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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

Despite the arguments of some folks, bitmasher is correct. They used to think that brown bears were a different species because they are so much larger than the inland grizzlies. Modern DNA testing, however, has proven that they are the same animal. The size difference comes entirely from their different habitats and has nothing to do with genetics.

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Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

Yes in the scientific term they are all grizzly bears. But let me rephrase the question here. If you were in Alaska and shot a really big assed bear and you knew for sure he was not a black,kodiak or polar bear and you wanted to try and register it with Boone and Crockett. how would you know if he was a Brown bear or an Alaskan Griz??? You didn't know this was a test ?

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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

I think Boone and Crockett would be the one to ask about that. They have extremely strict rules about everything else, so I'm sure the rules are just as strict about this.

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Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

Ok here are the facts or the understanding I have anyways. Boone and Crockett defines a brown bear by a region it's listed as so many miles east of this line and so many miles west of that line and so forth and so on. I don't know the true origin of the terms(brown bear/ alaskan grizzly) but I have my doubts Boone and Crockett created them,they have just defined them to fit there needs.Here in Alaska in the heart of Brown Bear country many agree that the difference between the two are as simple as this. A brown bear eats salmon and a grizzly stays in the interior of the state and makes no migration to salmon spawning streams. This would explain the body mass diference due to the quality as well as quantity of the food supply. As far as the Kodiak bear is concerned, They have the same diet as a mainland brown bear but their gene pool has been isolated on Kodiak Island thus making them unique. I would suppose they could have turned out to be a smaller bear as easily as they turned out to be larger if the available genes had dictated such.So thats my story and I am sticking to it! An interesting tid-bit to add here, One of the Boone and Crockett world record grizzlys ( theres two tied for first place) was taken from the Inglutalik River drainage in Alaska. The Inglutalik River, which you have probably guessed by now host's all species of pacific salmon.

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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

That is good info, although the whole system sounds fishy. ;-)

I still just call them all brown bear and a mean looking one a grizzly. Keeps it simple.

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Location: Aleknagik Alaska / Ozello Keys Florida
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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

Just havin' fun Bit, Always lookin' for a excuse to post my pictures.

~Jeff~

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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

I like the pictures, thanks for sharing.

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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

Documentation of these grizzly bears verses Kodiac bears verses Brown bears was not proven to the public until the very late 1970's, by a biologist that had devoted his life to studying these magnificent creatures. He came close to giving up his life as well just prior to his information being given to those in the world that were indeed very skeptical of his findings.

None the less, he did succeed in proving that all those so called species of bears were truely one in the same species. Those bigger bears did not have to forage 20 miles a day as the mountain grizzly did for his food, thus he burned up most of his caloric intake for the day. The Brown bear on the other hand, didn't have to travel but a city block or two to find all the fish he could eat and then some. Thus this bear put on much more weight during it's life cycle and got over twice the size.

In 1978 that same biologist was studying bears in Yellowstone national park! He had washed up and thrown the water in his basin out on a bush every morning he had been up in the high country on special permit. One morning he through out the wash water on said bush, only to get greeted by a hammering effects of a grizzly's paw down the side of his face and body. It broke all the bones in his face, tearing out his eye and then broke his collar bone, tore out the bicep muscle from his arm while slashing his rib cage as well. This knocked the professor to the ground, where the bear simply bit him several times in the hip and leg before it half way buried him.

He was found by the conservation agent who had stopped by to check on him that morning. Lucky for the professor the agent did stop by or the bear would have finished what he started early. There were 3 fatalities that same summer in the Yellowstone park caused by grizzly bears. I know because I was there in the flesh.

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Location: Anchorage AK
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BROWN BEAR vs GRIZZLY Whats the Difference ?

The short, not even Websters unabridged version...

They are all Brown Bears with regional variation due to diet and or breeding stock isolation. Note, The geographical isolation of the Kodiak bears is not over a long enough time to have caused separation of the species so a transplanted bear could breed. Kodiak + non-Kodiak = just another brown bear.

They are all spectacular animals to watch.

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