Monday, May 03, 2010

Latest "grolar" bear was 2nd-Gen Hybrid

I blogged earlier on a story that a grizzly-polar bear hybrid, the second such animal confirmed from the wild, was shot on April 8. Now we know something more: this bear was a second-generation hybrid, the result of a male grizzly pairing with a female hybrid. No one has reported shooting that maternal hybrid, so she is likely still out there.
It's getting to look like the hybridization of grizzly (technically brown) bears and polars is not a one-off event but part of a small but potentially significant trend. It's been postulated that such hybrids will show up more often as human settlement on the south and diminishing ice to the north increasingly causes the ranges of the two bears to overlap. (Actually I postulated that on the 2008 Giant Bears episode of MonsterQuest: I'm sure I was not the first to have the thought, but it was original to me at the time. I'm gratified that people with actual qualifications have independently picked up the same thread.)

THANKS TO Gavin Joth for circulating the linked article.

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