An international team of scientists, led by Beth Shapiro, the Shaffer associate professor of biology at Penn State, has discovered that the female ancestor of all living polar bears was a brown bear that lived in the vicinity of present-day Britain and Ireland just prior to the peak of the last ice age, 20,000 to 50,000 years ago. The research is expected to help guide future conservation efforts for polar bears, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
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