Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Chewing dinosaurs, climate change, self-sacrificing ants and black bears

Climate change causes carbon dioxide to dissolve in ocean water making it more acidic and efficient at transmitting sound waves. (Paul Souders / Corbis)


black bear
(Maura McCarthy)
Name: The black bear (Ursus americanus).
Good News Bears: Urban-dwelling females, eating a garbage-fortified diet, gain weight faster and have cubs younger than their forest-dwelling counterparts, according to a study in western Nevada led by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Bad News Bears: Urban females die younger.
Worse News Bears: Despite their reproductive head start, urban animals aren't increasing the overall bear population. Any gains are more than offset by urban hazards, especially collisions with cars. Says the lead researcher: "Urban areas are becoming the ultimate bear traps."

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