New Hybrid Species Threaten Santa's Home Grolar Bears and Narlugas: New Arctic Hybrids

As the arctic ice cap vanishes, polar bears and grizzlies are meeting. And mating, forming a new hybrid species of "grolar bears."

Polar bears and grizzlies are now breeding, creating a new hybrid species of "grolar bears." (Note: the above photo is not a "grolar bear," which aren't yet represented by any Creative Commons-licensed photos, but a plain old boring polar bear.) Narwhals and belugas too are suddenly swapping genes. Why, after thousands of years of separation, are these arctic species finding mates from the subarctic? Climate change, it seems.

The latest issue of Nature features an article, "The Arctic Melting Pot," that delves into this new trend. Says lead author Brendan Kelly, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Alaska, "The rapid disappearance of the Arctic ice cap is removing the barrier that’s kept a number of species isolated from each other for at least ten thousand years."

Over on OnEarth, Bruce Barcott has a fascinating Q&A with Kelly, in which the biologist says that we should expect to see "a lot more" arctic hybrids in the near future.

Are the hybrids you describe in your new Nature paper (see "Grolar Bears and Narlugas: Rise of the Arctic Hybrids") just "Ripley’s Believe It Or Not" freaks?

Some people may say these are just a few freaks. Others will say the sky is falling. What we’re saying is that these are a few of the many examples of hybridization happening among marine mammals in the Arctic right now. It fits with what we would expect as a result of the rapid change in Arctic habitat. This sort of hybridization may be happening with more frequency, and we should pay attention.


Go on and read the whole interview here, and keep your fingers crossed that Santa's workshop is safe and sound.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user mape_s.

via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

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via David Leavitt / Twitter

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They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

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via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

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