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Animal Themes
Mammals
Brown Bears



Brown Bears
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.85

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    classification, consensus, dished-in, hibernation-like, plantigrade, present-day, silver-tipped, subspecies, taxonomy, un-retractable, largely, northern, metabolism, destruction, fatty, hibernators
     content words:    North America, IUCN Red List, Threatened Species


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Brown Bears   

1     Brown bears have the widest range of habitats of all bear species. They live in northern North America, Europe, and Asia. Their broad range of living spaces -- including open plains, tundra, meadows, mountain forests, and coastlines -- is why brown bears have an "identity crisis." Well, there is no confusion that brown bears are bears. The underlying issue is "what exactly are brown bears?"
 
2     By definition, brown bears have two unique physical features that some other bear species lack. The two features are prominent shoulder humps and dished-in (concave) facial profiles. Grizzly bears (or, simply, grizzlies), Kodiak bears, Alaskan bears, Siberian bears, Manchurian bears, Hokkaido bears, and several others all fit the description. Scientists have debated for years whether all these bears are separate, independent species or just subspecies of brown bears. Although a consensus has yet to be reached, most scientists are leaning toward the subspecies theory.
 
3     If you think the classification (or taxonomy) of brown bears is confusing, you will find the coloration of brown bears even more perplexing. Contrary to their names, brown bears are not necessary brown. For example, grizzly bears have fur colors ranging from black to various shades of brown to blond. The grizzled effect given off by their silver-tipped hairs is how grizzly bears got their name.

Paragraphs 4 to 7:
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Mammals
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