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North American Black Bear

The American Black Bear (Ursus americanus) is the most common bear species native to North America. It lives throughout much of the continent, from northern Alaska south into Mexico and from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This includes 41 of the 50 U.S. states, all Canadian provinces except Prince Edward Island, and some of Mexico.

Populations in the Southern United States remain in the protected mountains and woodlands of parks and preserves, though bears will occasionally wander outside the parks' boundaries and have set up new territories, in some cases on the margins of urban environments in recent years as their populations increase. Unlike its cousin the brown bear, which is Eurasian in origin, the black bear evolved in North America 2 MYA.

It is thought by certain experts that the black bear's North American origin may account for its greater adaptability than the brown's, due to North America's greater prehistoric predation pressures. It is a close relative of the Asiatic Black Bear with which it is thought to share a European common ancestor.


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