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Bearrier Method

Now is the time for all good men and women to pause and think about bears

By Andrea Perkins

'DID YOU KNOW that at one time there were bears the size of horses who ran as fast as horses?" said my friend Richard when I told him that June 3 through June 9 is Bear Awareness Week.

"It's true," he said. "Some scientists believe there was a kind of wall of these bears between here and Eurasia that prevented people from migrating here earlier--a 'bearrier.' One Russian scientist who lives in virtually total isolation in an incredibly remote part of Siberia believes there still may be some of them around."

You won't find any information about ancient horse-sized bears at www.bears.org, a site "dedicated to the preservation of accurate bear beliefs." What you will find is great information on all the different bear species; bear myths from all over world; essays about bears; and links to millions of books, movies and websites that refer to bears.

One of my favorite parts of bears.org is the spirit names section. In many cultures, the bear is looked upon with such reverence that people are not allowed to actually utter the word for "bear," so they use euphemisms. The Blackfoot Indians, for example, called the bear "Big Hairy One" or just "Unmentionable One."

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From the May 30-June 6, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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