Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Systematics, evolution, and genetics of bears

November 30, 2020

Molecular genetics are key to understanding current and historical relationships between isolated populations, including species’ colonizations during glacial–interglacial cycles, to determine viability of local populations, needs for habitat corridors, and other aspects of population management, especially where bears are harvested for sport, etc. As natural habitats shrink, some bear species will inevitably require high levels of management, perhaps combining captive and wild populations following the IUCN’s One Plan Approach. In this chapter we review the systematics of the Ursidae and its relationships with other Carnivora, the molecular phylogenetic of extant ursid species, the phylogeography of and morphological variation within each species, and the use of molecular genetics to monitor bear populations for management and conservation.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2020
Title Systematics, evolution, and genetics of bears
DOI 10.1017/9781108692571.002
Authors Andrew C Kitchener, Eva Bellemain, Xiang Ding, Alexander Kopatz, Verena Kutschera, Valentina Salomashkina, Manuel Ruiz-Garcia, Tabitha Graves, Yiling Hou, Lars Werdelin, Axel Janke
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70217644
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center