Exclusive: Which Bear Is The Charmin Bear?

<p> (<em><a class="checked-link" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/57786156@N04/10063736756/in/photolist-gkihjG-a4fsFd-gogvSr-2G77a7-cCN9Dq-59mbAX-Po9es-kKp944-fvSQUS-jandM-mzW39g-3nQLmg-XLF3W-7FiHBy-7yRmbZ-eLnAb3-9o8ehV-DF6e1-aqeH3C-8mKNF2-7h22oF-7CGHDr-dbZAif-aj4rDL-znspH-eTFA1P-7b5tzN-fzVUqt-525MWD-enkhNt-65VSj6-7dYy1q-da2Dms-aE8qkV-9bMBac-kh7S6B-ffd9y2-9vyJ23-5KY12g-6x9sB5-8LRHmC-ds4dKZ-9NDZCz-7WnP7J-cr2mQ9-76xwhV-63TpTK-g8KLsc-fgFLEx-fg4Kvz">Flickr/ANi360</a>, </em><em><a class="checked-link" href="http://www.charmin.com/">Charmin</a>, <em><a class="checked-link" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/hairyduck/8718222782/in/photolist-ehpaTU-d8huh9-d1KUJY-fGDmRh-6KUkiW-grtLJi-dvQLRA-7geULY-bhgZdz-q6UP6r-oUthxK-fBo8qw-9Yv4rQ-d3DMps-hphXUJ-d35Uk9-ahVSzL-6yJNpA-6WLrmF-pokrvM-pzEXrP-5xHw26-dmMmZT-ehiqot-gXo8Cp-duuMq2-6JKib2-9EM4fN-aRMPk8-dr8wjg-arRnbK-dUm9cY-ftZqnE-6JAVGj-dkRZ5T-cZ7XmG-nKCg1P-fsczh5-8yY9fS-qDD9Xc-nPwzfz-bAEDK5-gLCJfS-oriMPU-gtdoCn-ihCPw3-dcYT95-oJ9Q6b-4xkmg8-oECpk4">Flickr/hairyduck</a></em><span></span></em>)<span></span> </p>

For more than a decade, one cartoon bear has reigned supreme, lobbying for softer landings and better bathroom etiquette. But who is the Charmin bear, really?

Charmin, a brand manufactured by Procter & Gamble, has never before publicly revealed the bear's identity - or his or her inspiration - until now. We asked the company to name the bear's species, and it was reluctant, ruling out polar bears, grizzlies, koalas and even gummies. We even gave Charmin a list of bear species to choose from. Then, wildlife biologist David Steen suggested the unimaginable - could the Charmin bear be a formerly abused circus bear?

Other hypotheses from Twitter:

(Public Domain)

At last, after some coaxing, the jig was up. The Charmin bear, that round, fluffy emblem of soft bottoms, is none other than:

Ah-ha! We thought we had the answer. It makes sense, considering the resemblance:

(Flickr/ANi360, Charmin)

But when we reached out to Charmin headquarters to double-check, there was a twist! Said spokesperson Laura Dressman, "Technically, we're more closely related to the American brown bear - Ursus arctos."

The brown bear, which lives across much of northern Eurasia and North America, bears a pretty striking resemblance, too:

(Flickr/hairyduck, Charmin)

We're not entirely convinced, so here's a poll. Which bear should the Charmin bear be?