Polar Bear

Polar Bear

Polar bears are unarguably the kings of the north and probably the most iconic animal of the Arctic by far. Yet, the trait they are most known for, their pearly white coat, harbors a damning secret. The individual hairs of a polar bear don’t contain any white pigment. In fact, they don’t contain any pigment of any color! Each one is translucent and hollow. So why do they look so white and fluffy?
Well, the trick of polar bear fur is not pigmentation but how it alters the light around it. As the sun hits the translucent fur, light is scattered in all directions and reflected back out. Much like ice reflecting back sunlight to appear white, the fur acts almost exactly in the same way, allowing for perfect camouflage. Polar bears truly are the kings of the north, having features perfectly suited to their environment. After all, it’s not luck that allowed them to thrive for all this time.

Daniel Kim (March, 2024) 

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