Greenland polar bears feel the heat!

Polar bear penis bones are shrinking in Eastern Greenland, according to Christian Sonne of the University of Aarhus in Denmark and colleagues.

They found that polar bears living in the Eastern Greenland are somewhat less well endowed than their cousins in Svalbard and the Canadian Arctic.

They say this could be due to the high prevalence of pollutants such as PCBs and DDT in Eastern Greenland – pollutants which records show are less prevalent in Svalbard and the Canadian Arctic.

In 2004, Steven Fergusson of the University of Manitoba in Canada showed that carnivores living in snowy environments, close to the poles, tend to have longer penis bones to help them be more competitive.

So Sonne’s group concludes that human pollution, combined with the difficulty of finding food in warming climates, may spell disaster for Eastern Greenland polar bears.

New Scientist, 31 Aug 2007