Little Rock, AR -- Arkansas Baptist State Convention representatives have confirmed that the Arkansas Southern Baptist has surpassed the Arkansas Black Bear in the state's largest mammal category in a recent study. The study was performed by Dr. Joseph Mendleton of Mississippi State University's Fullbrite College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Mendleton provides evidence in his working paper, "Winter Consumption Patterns of Arkansas Large Mammals." Sampling girth measurements of available species during the month of December, Dr. Mendleton was surprised to discover that the sample of Black Bears in the study were consistently smaller in circumference than the sample of Southern Baptists.
Serious questions have been raised over the validity of the study. A rebuttal report by Walt Samson of the University of Arkansas' School of Veterinary Medicine contained two potential flaws. "First of all, it is not fair to compare the Southern Baptist at his peak grazing season with the Black Bear that is coming out of hibernation for short periods of time during December. Secondly, there are questions regarding the differences in measurement technique. Black bear sizes were determined by estimation using triangulation and photography while the bear was standing upright. The Southern Baptist in the study were typically measured in a slumped position, having been shot with tranquilizer darts while leaving Baptist church fellowship halls."
Dr. Mendleton is confident his findings will hold up, "Other researchers are welcome to check my results and take their own measurements. I am willing to share my data, as well as turn over the tracking data of the tagged participants."