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."

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