Strong curved claws for climbing trees and ripping logs
Strength for turning over rocks and logs to get colonial insects and strength for bending branches to reach buds, catkins, leaves, and fruit
A vomeronasal organ in the roof of the mouth for enhancing taste and smell
A long, sticky, agile tongue for reaching into ant colonies and separating preferred and less preferred foods. For example, a black bear can ingest a mouthful of mixed nuts, distinguish less preferred varieties and drop them out the side of the mouth.
Color vision to aid in finding berries
A tapetum lucidum to aid night vision. The tapetum is the membrane behind the retina that gives them their eye shine. It reflects light back over the retina for extra bright images in low light.
Sensitive, mobile lips for picking berries
Canine teeth for ripping open logs, capturing young prey, and pulling apart carrion
Incisors for nipping young green plants and grass
Broad, flat molars and premolars for crushing acorns, nuts, and vegetation
Reduced 1st, 2nd, and 3rd premolars, creating a diastema (space) for stripping leaves off branches that are pulled sideways through the mouth
A 2-part stomach that includes an expandable fundic region to hold large volume and a muscular gizzard-like pyloric region for grinding the pulp off small fruits. This enables black bears to quickly ingest berries without chewing and rely on their stomach to mash them up.
A long memory of places that provided food
The ability to form a mental map of how to get to distant feeding areas and return home
Detailed close-up vision to coordinate the use of a single claw for delicate tasks