Both penguins and polar bears are inhabitants of ice. But for some reason, some of them (penguins) live in Antarctica, in the Southern Hemisphere, while others (polar bears) live in the North, in the polar zone. Is there a significant difference between the ice of the Southern and Northern Hemispheres, and can these animals in principle exchange places or live together?
Why polar bears do not live in Antarctica
We can say that historically, the polar bear’s path to the ice of Antarctica was evolutionarily impossible.
The ancestors of the modern polar bear had European roots, that is, they lived approximately in the territories of modern Europe. Of course, they increased their range, gave rise to new species. Those that went to the northern latitudes developed as predators, became larger in size, adapted to low temperatures (thick fur, a thick layer of subcutaneous fat). An example of this evolutionary branch are brown and polar bears.
The same bears that went to the southern latitudes and mastered them for life became not only heat-loving, but also herbivorous or insectivorous, did not increase in growth, and also mastered trees as a more convenient place for finding food. The descendants of this branch can be considered spectacular, Malay bears, a large panda. This branch could not advance south of the Malay archipelago.
Spectacled bear lives on the western slopes of the Andes
So, the polar bear could not have reached the South Pole. Although the bear population spread far south of the polar territories, evolutionarily they turned from predators to peaceful inhabitants of trees and eaters of plant food and small animals.
Bears not found south of Indonesia
Why penguins do not live in the Arctic
Penguins evolved evolution a little differently. They originally lived on the territory of modern Antarctica and the surrounding areas. True, at that time these areas were not yet covered with ice. With cooling, they began to adapt to low temperatures and now they are well tolerated. So much so that they do not aspire to warm latitudes at all, but fall exclusively with cold currents.
The Galapagos Penguin is the only representative of these flightless birds that has adapted to life in subequatorial latitudes. But he got here with cold currents.
Galapagos penguin - the only member of the family who adapted to life in warm latitudes
Can penguins and polar bears live in each other's territories
Despite the presence of ice, the Arctic and Antarctica have different living conditions for penguins and polar bears. There is no mainland at the North Pole under the ice, but there are floating ice and wormwood, in which polar bears get their food. Once in Antarctica, they would be in a predicament. For the same reason, penguins accustomed to living on the mainland would not be suitable for the North. Well, together, these animals cannot coexist at all. As you know, the polar bear is a large predator, and the penguin is quite a prey for him.
Penguin and polar bear cannot coexist
Perhaps an entrepreneurial person would even think of relocating, say, a polar bear to Antarctica. But nothing good will end. The habitat of both penguins and polar bears has developed historically in the process of evolution, which means they cannot live in other territories.