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Author Topic: Polar bear handedness
snopes
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Comment: Are all Polar Bears left handed?

There is a common belief that they are.

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Ganzfeld
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Every polar bear playing in the bigs is a southpaw. Wait, shouldn't it be "northpaw" then? I almost had a gag, son -- Joke, that is.
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Johnny Slick
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Polar Bears have one handedness and that handedness is GRRRR.

How would you tell what an animal's handedness is? Not many animals write, and those that do don't usually take the time to try out writing with both hands/paws/feet/talons/probosci/flagelli.

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Jay Tea
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I don't think there is a pertinent study to hand, but I would suggest this is just a folk tale. Bears i'm sure favour left or right likewe humans do and it wouldn't surprise me if there was a stat that suggested a bias one way or the other, a dominant hand after all helps 'us' to learn quicker, but i'm not prepared to believe that 'all' bears are southpaws.

Polar bears also hunt with 'both' feet, be they smashing through ice or dragging whales from blow-holes, but I wonder if there's information on brown bears? Much more studied and apt to delicate tasks such as shelling clams...

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Ganzfeld
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http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/aprilholladay/2004-10-01-wonderquest_x.htm
quote:
I was unable to find any scientific studies of polar-bear handedness. Instead, I based my answer on anthropologist Richard Nelson's account. In the 1960s, Nelson spent about a year living with the Inupiaq in the tiny village of Wainwright.

"Inupiaq elders say polar-bears are left-handed, so you have a slightly better chance to avoid their right paw, which is slower and less accurate," says Nelson.


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Keeper of the Mad Bunnies
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It appears to be a folk tale, according to WonderQuest (last question on the page).

quote:
I was unable to find any scientific studies of polar-bear handedness. Instead, I base my answer on anthropologist Richard Nelson’s account. In the 1960s, Nelson spent about a year living with the Inupiaq in the tiny village of Wainwright.

"Inupiaq elders say polar-bears are left-handed, so you have a slightly better chance to avoid their right paw, which is slower and less accurate," says Nelson.

James Powell
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Ganzfeld
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Oh yeah! Gotta love them same quote spankings! Left paw!
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Troberg
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Not all, the one in the Coca Cola Christmas commercial is not.

Even so, I doubt all would be, there would probably be a similar distribution as in humans. Almost all animals have left and right variants, even some sea shells are twisted the "wrong" way.

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/Troberg

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