MacFarlane's bear

MacFarlane's bear

MacFarlane's bear

Ursus inopinatus

MacFarlane's bear was a grizzly bear killed in Canada's Northwest Territories in 1864. Inuit hunters shot and killed an enormous yellow-furred bear and gave the skin and skull to the Fort Anderson post manager and amateur naturalist Roderick MacFarlane (sometimes given as Robert MacFarlane) of the Hudson's Bay Company. MacFarlane shipped the skin and skull to the Smithsonian Institution where they were placed in storage and soon forgotten. Eventually, Dr. Clinton Hart Merriam uncovered the remains, which he thought had been shot very far outside the brown bear's normal range, and concluded that it was not a brown bear at all. In 1918, he described the specimen as a new species and genus, Vetularctos inopinatus, calling it the "ancient unexpected bear."

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In episode #215 of the History Channel program Monster Quest, "Giant Bear Attack", paleontologist Dr. Blaine W. Schubert (of East Tennessee State University) was allowed to examine the skull (although the Institute did not allow the examination to be filmed). Schubert stated that he was "100% sure" that it was the skull of a young, female brown bear and "actually, not a particularly large individual."

In a 1984 publication intended to correct Merriam's 1929 taxonomy proposing 96 distinct species names for varieties of brown bear, E. Raymond Hall synonymized all 96 of Merriam's names with merely nine subspecies of U. arctos. Hall synonymized Vetularctos inopinatus with U. arctos horribilis, the normal grizzly bear.

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1. MacFarlane's bear Wikipedia article -'s_bear

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