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Males have significantly longer hairs on their forelegs, which increase in length until the bear reaches 14 years of age.

The male's ornamental foreleg hair is thought to attract females, serving a similar function to the lion's mane.

However, because neither species can survive long in the other's ecological niche, and because they have different morphology, metabolism, social and feeding behaviours, and other phenotypic characteristics, the two bears are generally classified as separate species.The polar bear is found in the Arctic Circle and adjacent land masses as far south as Newfoundland.Due to the absence of human development in its remote habitat, it retains more of its original range than any other extant carnivore.These areas, known as the "Arctic ring of life", have high biological productivity in comparison to the deep waters of the high Arctic.In Hudson Bay, James Bay, and some other areas, the ice melts completely each summer (an event often referred to as "ice-floe breakup"), forcing polar bears to go onto land and wait through the months until the next freeze-up.

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