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Discovery Magazine 1/1/2014

The Bear with Amazing Hair

by  Emma Baker

A few years ago,the city of Montgomery, Alabama had a few days of snow. Now, this does not happen very often in the Deep South, so I wanted to enjoy every minute of this cold and beautiful snow. After just two hours of playing in the snow my hands felt numb, and my ears and nose felt like they were frozen. Although the temperature was only a few degrees below freezing, I could not imagine living in that type of environment all the time. Yet, that is exactly what God’s amazingly designed polar bears do.

Polar bears live in the Arctic where temperatures can get as cold as 50 degrees below zero. How can these bears survive such cold temperatures? It is because God created their fur in a special way that keeps them warm. (By the way, did you know that a polar bear’s skin is not really white? You are probably thinking if a polar bear’s skin is not white, what color is it? A polar bear’s skin is black; these black-skinned bears have air-filled hairs that make them look whitish-yellow.)

Microscopic view of a ploar bear's hair. (photo credit: Alaska State Museum)

Polar bears have two layers of fur. The first layer is soft, fuzzy, and colorless, and rests against the skin. The second layer is filled with long, thick air-filled fur. The air-filled fur is the key to the polar bear's warmth. The air in the fur acts as layers of protection from the cold. (Just like when it was cold here in Montgomery, I had to put on multiple layers of clothes to keep me warm.) God knew what He was doing when He created polar bears.

Another amazing thing about the fur on these bears is that their fur keeps the heat in so well that even infrared cameras (cameras that measure the amount of heat rays given off by something) have a hard time detecting them. Paul definitely was right when he said God’s “invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made…” (Romans 1:20).

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