Polar bears may use boulders and ice blocks to bash walrus skulls

Picture a polar bear stalking an unsuspecting walrus in the frozen Arctic: The predator slowly inches closer, camouflaged by ice and snow, until it’s close enough to pounce. And then it delivers the killing blow — by bopping the walrus on the head with a large rock.

That might sound like something you’d see in a cartoon, rather than in nature. But for centuries, Inuit people in the Arctic have shared such stories with non-Native explorers and naturalists, describing polar bears killing or stunning prey with stones and chunks of ice that the bears grasp in their paws (or throw off cliffs onto animals at the bottom, according to a memorable 19th-century engraving).