Now even polar bears are claiming to be Irish

Polar bears may have Irish ancestors (photo Alan Wilson)

Well, we’ve got used to American presidents claiming to have Irish ancestry, especially when there’s an election round the corner.

And, of course, everyone is Irish on St Patrick’s Day.

Polar bears may have Irish ancestors

Dublin wouldn’t be Dublin without an army of people from all over the world sampling a taste of the old country, especially the Guinness.

Yes, everyone wants to be Irish these days, including it seems – polar bears.

Like American presidents, the link is a long way back

Ok, just like American presidents they have to go back a long way but the link is definitely there according to leading scientists.

In 2011, a team from Trinity College Dublin, Oxford University in England and Pennsylvania University in the United States studied bear skeletons from before the last Ice Age found in eight caves across Ireland.

The best samples were recovered from Poll na mBear, Cave of the Bears, in Leitrim in 1997.

Polar bears have Irish grandmothers

An examination of the mitochondrial DNA, which is passed through the maternal line, showed that the Irish bears were the ancestors of all modern polar bears.

Ireland’s bears have since become extinct but their descendants, just like the descendants of human Irish emigrants, are thriving in their new country across the Atlantic.

Perhaps some polar bears, like their human counterparts, would like to visit the old country – but the water is wide and they cannot swim over.

Get a fuller account of this amazing story here.

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