Monday, October 15, 2007

The sled dogs and polar bear: not a fake

Emily forwarded one of those chain emails to me -- this one was about a polar bear, presumably a young polar bear, appearing to play with sled dogs.

Naturally, I figured this was a brilliant fake.

No, it's real: Urban Legends Reference Pages: Polar Bear Plays with Sled Dogs. There's even a public radio show on the images.

Clearly there's a lot of variation in the psychology of the juvenile polar bear; long after they're extinct we'll probably be wondering how complex their minds really were.

I find the dog's behavior more mysterious. They are not puppies, they're adult sled dogs.

Clearly there are worse strategies than cooperating with a playful polar bear -- but how did the dogs figure that out? Was it simply that they've never seen a polar bear and had no idea what they were dealing with?

I suppose that's possible, after all, most dogs meeting a polar bear wouldn't live to tell the tale.

The bear and the dogs are said to have played nightly for a week. Maybe the dogs thought their visitor was a weird smelling human in a fur suit ...

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