The Dog Bear / Bear Dog Conundrum

On July 16, 2014 by Muelo


I heard the Octobass on this wonderful Octobass article, and it reminded me of the sound that a Sea Lion type creature had made on a TV programme I watched recently. I of course immediately went to Wikipee to try and find out what it was.

On my Wiki travels I discovered the page for the species ‘infraorder’ ‘Arctoidea’. I subsequently read the first paragraph of the page, which listed the different groups within Arctoidea which were: Hemicyonidae (dog-bears), Musteloidea (weasels), Pinnipedia (seals, sea lions), and Ursidae (bears).

As you would expect, I did what any human with half a soul would have done, I ignored the remaining 75% of the group names and immediately clicked on Hemicyonidae, ‘dog-bears’. Although ‘weasels’ did catch the corner of my eye, as I believe the name ‘weasel’, to be inherently funny.

Now, if the fact that ‘dog-bears’ once existed on this earth was somehow not enough to bring you feelings of joy, you only had to look to the top of the dog-bear page to see the words . . .

“Dog bear” redirects here; for amphicyonidae see “Bear dog”

Dog Bear bear dog

YES, that’s right, not only did ‘dog-bears’ actually exist on this planet, but also ‘BEAR DOGS’! They are TWO different things, and this is certified by scientific classification.

Just so you know, ‘Hemicyonidae’ is an extinct family of species genera. Translated directly from Greek it means ‘half-dog’. As Hemicyonidae is part of the species superfamily Ursoidea, of which the only other extant species family are bears, Hemicyonidae’s non-scientific name is ‘dog-bears’.

However, be warned, whatever you do, do not confuse your Hemicyonidae with your Amphicyonidae. Or to put it another way, don’t confuse your ‘dog-bears’ with your ‘bear dogs’! For ‘bear dog’ is the common name for ‘Amphicyonidae’, and Amphicyonidae may not even be part of the same superfamily as Ursoidea!!! Aaaaaaahh!!!

. . . . be careful.

Animal Collection

We have probably all witnessed at some point in our lives how someone’s ignorance has upset someone else. Don’t get complacent! Don’t let your Hemicyonidae and your Amphicyonidae catch you snoozing! Remember how the not so well known saying goes . . . ‘You snooze, you loose . . . your grasp of Hemicyonidae and Amphicyonidae’.

Below is an actual real life artist’s reconstruction of a bear dog. That’s a ‘b-e-a-r . . . . d-o-g’, NOT . . . a ‘dog-bear’. I should like to reiteratise that . . . NOT . . . a ‘dog-bear’

Bear Dog Amphicyonidae

And here’s a ‘dog bear’ for you…

Dog Bear Hemicyon

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