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Old 12-20-2012, 09:07 AM   #65
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Front Range, CO
Oddometer: 372
Originally Posted by aquadog View Post
This started as such a civil thread with lots of good information. I hope other readers don't lose that fact in this little tiff.

This is not about saving face, it's about presenting factual information. If you do some research using current references related to bears, you'll find that what I've noted is not B.S. but based on case studies. I live in bear country; work in the wilderness; and have to keep current on bear behaviour (opinions on which changes with new and additional information), so keep up on this stuff.

Yes, I understand your Wikipedia reference, and like lots of generalisms, it has it's uses. Like a lot of general statements, it also has limitations and modifications.

The reference is similar to the argument for geodisic domes as maximum volume for minimum surface area, therefore they must be most energy efficient. Except that calculation is done without an insulation value, which changes the picture quite rapidly. Same thing - a general rule that is "true" but has to be thought about and put in context before thinking it applies to a specific instance. Unlike physics, the biological sciences are more variable, so Bergmann's Rule needs a big grain of salt - elephants and other large tropical land mammals, for instance, don't exactly fall into that rule, do they?

Do some research, specifically in terms of bears, since that's what we're discussing. Check the range of weights for various populations in different geographic regions, such as southern U.S., mountain state U.S. central Canada, Yukon and coastal Alaska. You're not going to find a uniform size increase with latitude. Instead, you're going to find a better correlation with habitat, food source, climate, need to hibernate and some other factors. Why are coastal Alaskan bears so big? Salmon swim into their mouth without much effort on the part of the bear, and it's a mild climate, they eat for more months of the year. Same latitude, tougher climate, you'll find a considerably smaller bear.

Like I said, I don't think you're stupid, but you are presenting half truths, angry personal arguments, generalist rules and the like, as fact.

Luckily, nobody here has to rely on either of our opinions, they can do their own homework. Bears are generally not a big deal when camping, and that's been pointed out by many posters.
Please point out where I have presented a half truth, a personal argument, or generalist rules (that don't have a scientific basis).

Obviously there are exceptions to Bergman's Rule so it is not a "rule" in the traditional definition but it has been accepted by science none the less as a useful generalization with much more conformity than exception. I already know from reading many things that black bears here in CO are smaller on average than those in higher latitudes. A 300 pound black bear is considered big here. Not so much the case in Canada and Alaska. Is that difference directly attributable to the latitude difference itself? No (because the rule is about correlation not causation which no one said was uniform), but does it matter? No, my whole point about Bergman's Rule was that bears are less dangerous where they are smaller like most animals that are dangerous from their physical strength. And the end reality is that the further north you go, the bigger most animals get in general (like you pointed out, its not necessarily uniform, but the scientific generalization is still applicable nonetheless). That includes bears. Therefore the further north I go the more I worry about bears regardless of the species. They have bears running around big do you think they are (regardless of the reason for that)?To see a grizzly all I have to do is drive to Wyoming...but staying here in CO I don't have to worry about grizzlies or truly large black bears, at least at this time.
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