Grizzly Bear versus Polar Bear Intelligence

Researching the difference in intelligence between grizzly bears and polar bears.
Josephine Cameron & Ivy Undershute
Grade 5



We think that the two bears (grizzly bear and polar bear) will have the same intelligence because they are similar animals that are related.



  1. Choose a topic
  2. Plan
  3. Gather information that we need to get into science fair
  4. Write down questions we wanted to answer
  5. Write hypothesis
  6. Write background knowledge
  7. Research and write are sources
  8. Do the scientific method
  9. Write results
  10. Write conclusion
  11. Write what's next
  12. Concepts


Research questions we focused on:


  1. Who has more brain cells?
  • Grizzly bears have 9 billion brain cells, and polar bears also have 9 billion brain cells.
  • A baby grizzly bear at birth it has 100 billion brain cells.
  • A baby polar bear at birth has 100 billion brain cells.
  • Polar bears are the biggest among the species but not as ferocious as other bears.
  • Many species of bears are very aggressive and are known to attack humans. The most dangerous are grizzly and polar bears. Polar bears are the deadliest but grizzly bears have a higher record of attacking humans.


  1. Who is easiest to train?
  • Polar bears can be trained and can be tamed. Grizzly bears are the same way. You need a lot of food to train a bear.
  • When teaching a bear, repeat the exercise at least 20 times then you can move on.
  • Learn their body language.
  • Scientists witnessed them performing complex tasks — a sign of an ability to learn and process information. Scientists have seen circus bears balance on balls, ride vehicles or roller skates, and play sports and musical instruments.


  1. Who is more social, grizzly bear or polar bear?
  • Grizzly bears live alone, but every now and then meet up. Polar bears are only social when it's mating season or something crazy is going on. They mostly live alone because they need room to hunt and search for food.
  • As highly evolved social animals, bears form hierarchies and have structured relationships with each other, sometimes even sharing resources.


  1. What is the IQ of a grizzly bear versus a polar bear?
  • The average IQ of a polar bear is the same as a 3-year-old human. It's the same for a grizzly bear.
  • We looked for but could not find research done on bear brain scans to measure who had more brain activity.


  1. How does the intelligence of bears compare to other animals?
  • In the animal kingdom, their intelligence compares with the higher primates.
  • Zookeepers and animal trainers consider bears to be smarter than dogs.


  1. What evidence shows that bears are intelligent?
  • Some researchers believe that grizzly bears possess self-awareness, as there have been accounts of grizzly bears covering their tracks or concealing themselves from hunters with rocks and trees.
  • In a scientific experiment, animals were given 30 minutes to extract food from a metal box, closed with a bolt latch. The box was scaled to the animal’s size and baited with each study animal’s preferred food—red pandas received bamboo and snow leopards got steak. “Does a larger brain imply greater intelligence?” asked the scientist.
  • “These researchers’ clever puzzle presented to multiple species discovered a strong correlation between relatively large brain size and problem-solving ability.” 70% success rate for bears.
  • Overall, 35% of the animals successfully solved the problem. While bears had an almost 70% success rate, and meerkats and mongooses were the least successful, with no individuals from their species solving the problem.
  • “Our results are robust, showing that having a larger brain really does improve the animal’s ability to solve a problem it has never encountered before,” said one of the scientists.
  • “This study offers a rare look at problem solving in carnivores, and the results provide important supports for the claim that brain size reflects an animal’s problem-solving abilities and enhance our understanding of why larger brains evolved in some species.


  1. Do grizzly bears and polar bears use their senses the same way?
  • Bears have poor eyesight, so they stand on their back legs which also helps them get a better smell. They take constant inventory of their surroundings, allowing them to compile a detailed map of their territories, complete with information on where to find their preferred foods and when they can obtain them. The polar bear lives in a world of an ever-changing landscape. Hunting and surviving within the Artic, below water and on the surface demands a sharp memory.


  1. What is the origin of grizzly bears and polar bears?
  • Scientists estimate that polar bears diverged from brown bears between 250,000 and 130,000 years ago. Similarities make the two bears biological sister species, more closely related than to any others.
  • But polar bears have also evolved to match its polar environment, growing a longer snout than brown bears’ and larger, paddle-like paws, both of which aid polar bears in hunting seals.
  • This specialization has now made the polar bear more vulnerable than its more widespread, adaptable Grizzly bear relative. As sea level rise threatens the polar bear’s Arctic habitat, things will change for grizzlies, too.



  • The two bears are both really smart but do different intelligent things.



  • The two bears are similar in intelligence based on the question we researched.
  • We found it hard to research these animals because there's not a lot of information to compare the two bears.



  • I learned that the IQ for both bears is the average IQ of a 3-year-old human.
  • I thought that they both were going to be more social. 
  • I thought that it was interesting that they can follow a simple schedule.



  • The conclusion is that grizzly bears are more social which could mean that they may work together better but polar bears and grizzly bears are more similar than we expected.


What's next

  • This would be helpful to scientists because it gives them more understanding of bears and their behaviour, or how they interact with towns and people.


Thank you beary much!


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