The Washington Post Magazine
It was the mid-1960’s — a warm, sunny day at Yellowstone National Park, where a 500-pound male grizzly bear known as No. 36 is slumped in a drug-induced haze. Even flattened by tranquilizers, the big bear dwarfs the four researchers in Western-style clothing who are racing the clock to pull every piece of data they can from him — weighing him, taking blood samples, checking his teeth.
He grows larger still when he awakens suddenly with a shattering roar. Groaning, groggy and gladiatorial, the bear rises and charges blindly at the members of the group, who scramble into their red Ford station wagon. In a dizzy rage, the bear barrels like a bristling, fanged locomotive toward the packed car, running straight into the passenger door and then heaving himself onto the hood, his head seeming to fill the entire windshield. As the animal bellows again, the car is jammed almost cartoonishly into reverse, and the big, disoriented bear slides off.
To aficionados of National Geographic documentaries, the scene is one of the most popular in the organization’s ample, thrill-filled archives. It is also a small taste of the action packed and intertwined lives of a set of identical twins and grizzly research partners, John and Frank Craighead… READ MORE