This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Biology Settles the Winnie-the-Pooh vs. Paddington Bear Beef

On Tuesday, Disney released the teaser trailer for Christopher Robin, in which the titular character is revisited by his famous bear, Winnie-the-Pooh. The trailer initiated an unexpectedly vicious battle for CGI bear supremacy, as fans of both Pooh and Paddington Bear, who’s also seen recent screen time, raised a very loaded question: Is there room in the movies for two anthropomorphic bears? Were the bears left to their natural devices, ursine biology suggests the fight would be very close.

On Twitter, some fans proposed a UFC-style fight between the Marmalade Monster and the Honey Hercules. Here at Inverse, we don’t shy away from a fight, no matter how fictitious. Therefore, we ask, who would win?

Let’s start with the facts. Paddington, despite living in England, is an Andean spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus), native to the mountains of Peru. Winnie-the-Pooh is a different story, as he is famously a toy plush bear invented by A.A. Milne. But Milne named him after a real bear named Winnie who accompanied Canadian soldiers to England during World War I as a morale-booster. Winnie was a female black bear (Ursus americanus), so for our purposes, we’ll consider Pooh a black bear.

Article continues below

Our Science and Innovation teams bring you all of today’s news that’s helping shape your tomorrow.
Sign up for our newsletter:
The real-life inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh was a female black bear that was transplanted to London during World War I.

Now for the big question: Which bear would kick the other bear’s ass? Both species are omnivorous, eating mostly fruits and plant material, deriving only a small portion of their diet from animals they kill. Andean spectacled bears occasionally eat rodents and birds but have also been known to kill small cows. Similarly, black bears sometimes kill salmon, baby deer, and baby moose. So as far as ferocity, both bears are pretty evenly matched. But when it comes to weight, an advantage may emerge.

Andean spectacled bears are fairly small, weighing up to 340 pounds. Male black bears can be much bigger, maxing out around 600 pounds in the wild (though rare specimens as heavy as 1,000 pounds have been reported), whereas female black bears are a lot smaller. Even though the real Winnie was female, the character Winnie-the-Pooh presents as masculine, and since captive bears can often far exceed the size of wild bears (depending on the availability of food), he’s probably near the top of that weight range.

That being said, anyone who’s watched him try to fit his chubby tummy through a hole in a tree to forage for honey knows he’s also a little overweight, suggesting that his size advantage may be offset by a speed disadvantage. With that in mind, it’s probably a wash, physically speaking.

Since the IRL versions of Paddington and Pooh are pretty evenly matched when it comes to size and ferocity, we really may have to resort to cuteness to decide the victor. In this sense, a clear winner emerges. Psychology research has suggested that adults and children prefer animals that look more like babies — those with big eyes, round faces, big heads, and recessed chins. Both of the bears have the last three features, but Paddington’s eyes blow Pooh’s out of the water when it comes to the lifelike cuteness that makes him look like an infant. So in terms of cuteness, Paddington is the clear winner.

Of course, animals can’t consent to a prizefight, and to force them into it would be cruel. Plus, even though the black bear’s wild populations are healthy, the Andean spectacled bear is listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, just one step above “endangered.” Forcing Winnie-the-Pooh into a fight with Paddington, then, would very likely tickle the internet, but ultimately there would be no winners — only losers.

You Can Save Up to 30 Percent on Your Power Bill With Arcadia Power

Connect to clean, low-cost energy and bring down your power bill for free.

Given the chance, most of us would jump at the opportunity to bring down our power bills. But there’s a prevailing assumption that doing so involves dealing with steep upfront costs before the savings actually come in. Arcadia Power presents a different solution, however, and it’s willing to give new users $20 off their first utility bill for trying out the platform.

You Probably Can't Watch NASA's 8K Video So Watch This Version Instead

There's no way your monitor is big enough for the original.

Last week, NASA released an ultra high definition video of the International Space Station, but many people may have trouble experiencing it as it was filmed. It’s not because of space radiation or mystery holes, but because of something far more Earthly.

The video, which was created in partnership with the European Space Agency, shows the crew of the ISS conducting a range of scientific experiments, all in unprecedented 8K. But the video’s uniqueness is also its downfall: Most computer monitors, even the very largest of desktop monitors, aren’t big enough to show 8K video in all its splendor. To put it another way, that’s a resolution of 7,680 pixels wide x 4,320 pixels tall, whereas the typical high-def YouTube video is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

Evidence of “Moderate Drinking” Shows Small Health Risk

That evening glass of wine isn't actually good for you.

By Hassan Vally, The Conversation
Filed Under Data & Health

For the past three decades or so, the conventional wisdom has been that drinking alcohol at moderate levels is good for us.

The evidence for this has come from many studies that have suggested the death rate for moderate drinkers is lower than that for non-drinkers. In other words, we thought moderate drinkers lived longer than those who didn’t drink at all.

The World’s Oldest Preserved Sperm Are Still Swimming Strong

"What is true for the sheep is also true for humans."

On Sunday, Australian scientists announced that they’d thawed 50-year-old sheep semen and successfully impregnated living sheep with it. The semen, which was frozen in 1968, stayed frozen in liquid nitrogen as part of a project aimed at proving that sperm could remain viable after long-term cold storage. The University of Sydney researchers behind the project say that their work could expand options for young cancer patients who may want to save semen samples before starting radiation treatment. This would allow them to have children later in life, even if they haven’t found a partner yet.

Spring Equinox: There's a "Super Worm Moon" Coming Tonight

“The history of the ‘supermoon’ is not of astronomy."

On Wednesday, March 20, the Super Worm Moon will creep over the horizon at 5:58 P.M. Eastern. This celestial event lines up with the Vernal Equinox, and it also marks the last super moon of 2019. The Vernal Equinox — also known as the Spring Equinox — is the day when hours of daylight have finally lengthened enough to equal the hours of nighttime in a day, marking the end of winter in the northern hemisphere. Similarly, the Worm Moon marks the beginning of spring, the time of year when the frozen ground begins to soften, the roots of plants begin to once again push through the dirt, and birds begin foraging for worms.