morphological & molecular evidence
The closest relatives to the American Black Bear are:
- Grizzly Bear
- Polar Bear
- Panda Bear
Some similarities they share are the claws, nails, faces, and the way they attack. The majority of their bodies are similar but they are differences such as the size of certain things like the eyes, snout, and ears.
Morphological evidence shows how this bear evolved because of the proof by other animals that share similar things. Many animals that aren't related to any type of bear have very similar structures.
Two other organisms that share the same structure but have different functions are wolves and anything in the feline family (cheetah, cougar, etc.)
An example of a vestigial structure the American Black Bear has is the "Vibrissae". Which are large, tactile hairs on the muzzle, which do no use whatsoever.
Vestigial Structures are organs / bones / anything correlating to an animal that has no function at all, they show evidence for evolution because they're often homologous structures as well meaning different animals share it, therefore coming from one main thing and later descending into own families.
Very faintly, you can see little hairs on its muzzle. They're basically whiskers which have functions for other organisms such as dogs, but not for this bear.
The American Black Bear is different in its current form now rather than before because as more and more black bears come to be, more information is shown how its bones have changed and shared characteristics of previous ancestries.
Transitional Fossils are remains of an organism that showed traits through fossils from its past ancestry to it's common descendants.