Monday, December 10, 2007

Did they find his armour, too?

I seem to be the only one (or else the only one whose mind is trivial enough to care) to notice this coincidence: In the same week as the opening of The Golden Compass, comes the announcement of the finding of the fossil jawbone of a polar bear -- on Svalbard, the arctic island home of Lyra's ursine friend and protector, Iorek.

The significance of this find (I mean, other than amusing me with the "life-imitates-art" schtick) is that it pushes the fossil record of polar bears back about 20000 or 30000 years earlier than was previously known -- back out of the Wisconsin glaciation and into the previous interglacial. This raises hopes that polar bears, having survived warm periods before, may not be as vulnerable to gloabl warming as feared.

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