Results from a new study could have implications for brown bear evolution.
Over the years, several researchers noticed a change in the way that Scandinavian brown bears care for their young. Sweden has one of the fastest bear reproduction rates in the world, and it seems that females were spending more time with their cubs.
"We needed to provide evidence, and then that triggered new questions," says Joanie Van de Walle, a PhD student in the Department of Biology at the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada.
Van de Walle is part of an international team of researchers who combed through decades of data on brown bear populations in Sweden to investigate this trend. By following the lives of hundreds of bears, the researchers determined that more mothers are raising their cubs for one year longer than they have in the past.