Pizzly or grolar bear: hybrid species is result of climate change

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is known for swelling the oceans and fueling extreme weather, but it may be also causing the curious emergence of a new type of bear in the .

A bear shot in the frigid expanse of northern Canada is believed to be a grizzly- hybrid, a consequence of the increasing interactions between the two imposing bear species.

Hunter Didji Ishalook originally thought he’d shot a small polar bear but he said it was a “half-breed” – a position backed by several bear experts. The bear was shot near the small community of Arviat, located on the Hudson Bay within Canada’s Arctic region.

Hybrid throwback: polar bears evolved from brown bears around 150,000 years ago. Photograph: Didji Ishalook/Facebook

“It looks like a polar bear but it’s got brown paws and big claws like a grizzly,” Ishalook said. “And the shape of a grizzly head.”

Sightings of this hybrid species – which has been dubbed either a “grolar bear” or a “pizzly bear” – have become more common in recent years as the Arctic has warmed at twice the rate of the global average.

Grizzly bears found in and Canada appear to be moving north as their environment warms, bringing them into contact with polar bears located on the coastline.

Polar bears are spending more time on land as Arctic ice diminishes, causing them to lose body weight and decline in numbers as they are unable to hunt for favored prey such as seals.

“The combination of warmer temperatures and vegetation growth means there is more overlap between the species and I’d expect that overlap to increase,” Chris Servheen, a expert at the University of Montana, told the Guardian.

“We didn’t see it much in the past but we are now. The two species are very similar genetically so males of both species will be attracted to females, which is why we are seeing a mix-up in the breeding.”

Polar bears evolved from brown bears around 150,000 years ago and are now the largest land carnivores in the world, weighing up to 1,600lb (720kg). Grizzly bears, known for the distinctive hump on their shoulders, are normally solitary animals but come together to feed or to mate.

As temperatures continue to increase – the world has just broken monthly heat records for 12 months in a row – the long-term prognosis could be more favorable to the pizzly than the polar bear.

“Polar bears really depend upon sea ice, they’ve evolved with it and they aren’t built to live on the shore long-term,” said Servheen. “If the sea ice disappears, some may be successful but a lot won’t be successful.

“We are looking at an evolutionary change in the long term where overlaps are increasing and polar bears don’t have a lot of options. But it will be hundreds of generations before we really see a new type of bear.”

This article was first published by The Guardian on 18 May 2016.


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Linda Badham
Linda Badham


Mars Greenwood

This planet would thrive and do just fine if there were NO humans…who are the plague of the earth~!

Mars Greenwood

If these bears are rare why is some moron out killing them?

Delbert Smith

Its called genetic throwback for you simple minded folks.

Delbert Smith

Linda French Read the reports you own government puts out, not the crap from liberal professors. Are you folks really that dumb. Look the water level in Key West has not risen an inch over the last 200 years.

Delbert Smith

Paul Seligman Learn to do real research, quit believing the bull crap about global warming and read the research provided by the Canadian Gov.

Michele Jankelow

Asshole for killing a beautiful bear! Sorry find these people abhorrent!

Theresa Kemp

Nice to know there is a new natural species evoilving into the world but why on earth did one have to be killed?

M Leybra
M Leybra

For the same reason the human who has not evolved mentally since day’s of it’s caveman ancestry will shoot the last remaining individual of a species for the hell of it. Eat the meat? Subsistence hunters don’t dress in same fashionable couture as the trophy ‘sportsman’ killer pictured nor do they pose to be photographed w/ their kill.

Paul Seligman

Apparently, some of these Grizzly-Polar bear hybrids have a real identity crisis causing considerable mental stress. They have been diagnosed as bipolar bears.

Paul Seligman

Delbert 'you don't need no stinking college' Smith – can you quote any reputable scienticif source for your surprising assertion about Polar Bear species being ony 25,000 years old? I'll go with the recent secience (though nothing is exact or final in such estimates) of the split being 343,000-479,000 years ago see : http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/05/polar-bear-evolution-was-fast-and-furious

Susan McGraw Keber

Why was this bear shot to begin with? I oppose all killing of animals. There is NO need to consume bear flesh!

Linda French

Delbert, your full of crap..Do not know what you are reading, but there is a lot of information out there about the Arctic getting warmer, and grizzlies going North. I live in Canada, and have a interest in what is happening to our Polar Bear.

Delbert Smith

Wrong information, the Polar bear species is under 25,000 years of age. It also by DNA has been proven to have been a evolution of the Grizzly. So it is in fact by other research proven to be a genetic throwback, yea some hybrids are occurring but thats been happening for centuries. THis article is full of crap.

Kathleen Colley

I hope this rare bear was killed for meat to feed starving people! To shoot an animal for fun or for ego is a murderous thing, and there need to be laws in Alaska to make sure hunting does not happen for stupid, inane reasons.

Rémy Marion

This paper is just a good example of the misundestanding for everything about the arctic. Please when you wright a paper, take tje scientific informations and not the last paper of one of your colleague.