Greens Panic at Evidence of Polar Bear Climate Adaptability

Polar/brown bear hybrid, Rothschild Museum, Tring
Polar/brown bear hybrid, Rothschild Museum, Tring. By Original uploader was Messybeast at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY 2.5,

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The discovery of a rare wild Grolar bear, a fertile Grizzly / Polar bear hybrid, is being treated as a terrifying sign of global warming in the Arctic.

Grolar bears: Climate change could be behind grizzly-polar bear hybrid, scientists say

An unusual bear shot by a hunter days ago in Nunavut, a territory in northern Canada, is thought by experts to be a “grolar” or “pizzly” bear.

But some scientists say the two bear species are breeding more often because climate change is causing them to cross paths.

Chris Servheen, a bear biologist and Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the University of Montana, said sightings of this hybrid bear species have been very rare in the past.

“But they seem to be more common now,” he said.

Mr Servheen said not very much was known about the grolar and pizzly bears, as little contact had yet to be made between them and humans.

Read more:

My question: why aren’t greens celebrating this find, as evidence that Polar bears are capable of rapidly changing their phenotype, in response to radical changes to the polar climate?

Hybridisation is a common form of adaption in the natural world, which allows the rapid spread of important survival traits amongst diverse populations. Modern humans carry the genetic fingerprint of frequent hybridisation, including evidence of likely cross breeding with Neanderthals. Some scientists even claim hybridisation was not only important, but essential to the rise of modern humans.

The Hybrid Origin of “Modern” Humans

Recent genomic research has shown that hybridization between substantially diverged lineages is the rule, not the exception, in human evolution. However, the importance of hybridization in shaping the genotype and phenotype of Homo sapiens remains debated. Here we argue that current evidence for hybridization in human evolution suggests not only that it was important, but that it was an essential creative force in the emergence of our variable, adaptable species. We then extend this argument to a reappraisal of the archaeological record, proposing that the exchange of cultural information between divergent groups may have facilitated the emergence of cultural innovation. We discuss the implications of this Divergence and Hybridization Model for considering the taxonomy of our lineage.

Read more:

Evidence of occasional fertile hybridisation of Polar Bears is simply evidence that Polar Bears are more adaptable than environmentalists generally accept. If the arctic ever warms to such an extent, purebred Polar Bears are no longer ecologically viable, they would simply be replaced with hybrids, or even near purebred Grizzlies. And when Arctic conditions cooled again, creating strong selection pressure for lighter fur, “Polar Bears” would quickly re-emerge from the diverse ursine gene pool.

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Ray Prebble
May 19, 2016 1:37 am

Green theory rejects change, unless it is change to how things were. On a recent walk in the city I saw a notice saying that the river environment, traditionally very English with poplars, oaks and grass, is to be converted to how things were in Gondwanaland. I looked at this for a long time, thinking, “You can’t be serious”. Not just before modernisation, or the arrival of people here. Gondwanaland.

Reply to  Ray Prebble
May 19, 2016 1:47 am

They might have trouble sourcing the plants and animals.

Reply to  Tim
May 19, 2016 11:49 am

I mean, like, this whole “pizzly”, worry-wart deal the hive has goin’ could not be simpler to explain. I mean, like, for all the phoney-baloney lip-service the hive’s pie-holes pay to “diversity”, the good-comrades are, behind all their faux color-blind, high-falutin’, flim-flam rhetoric, just your standard-issue, group-think, plain ol’ vanilla defenders of white-bear privilege, horrified that their “lily-white” bruin favorites are gettin’ caught up in the horrors of race-mixing’ miscegenation with not so “lily white” black bears and brown bears.
Don’t believe me? Well, you don’t have to be Nate Silver, to smoke this one out:
Goggle: “white bears new york times” and “black bears new york times” and “brown bears new york times”:
-white bears 6,970,000 results
-black bears 6,140,000 results
-brown bears 6,140,000 results
See what I mean? And note that the number of results is identical for brown and black bears–an obvious quota system goin’ on here, I think we all must agree. I mean, like, the color-conscious mentality at work at the nation’s so-called “newspaper of record” just makes me want to BARF!!! And I think Google should include a “trigger warning” notification any time a “New York Times” result appears in response to a Google search along with a panic-button feature that, if pushed, will create an instant “safe space” for the internet user.
Jeez…and here I thought we had all moved on from this sort of “dog-whistle”, segregationist thinkin’, but I guess the hive’s brazen-hypocrite, carbon-piggie eco-flakes didn’t get the word, or sumpin’.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 19, 2016 4:50 am

Been there.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 19, 2016 6:01 am

You should have gone to a jeweler and buy one without telling her.
Oh, never mind, same problem …
Actually much bigger when she finds out …

Sun Spot
Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 19, 2016 6:34 am

so that’s why Amber is such a common stripper moniker.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 19, 2016 2:30 pm

LOL (I’ve got to stop drinking coffee at my desk).

Another Ian
Reply to  Ray Prebble
May 19, 2016 2:46 am

Oh boy!
They’ll have to sanctify Cenchrus ciliaris!

Gentle Tramp
Reply to  Ray Prebble
May 19, 2016 4:48 am

It is indeed an interesting paradox that Greens are strictly against any changes in the natural realm but are very fervent zealots for social, economic and gender changes in the human sphere. What does this paradox tell us about their psychology?

Reply to  Gentle Tramp
May 19, 2016 8:27 am

What does this tell us about their psychology?
Get back to the Old Testament and again read the story of the Tower of Babel.
All of this is simply Man attempting to replace God.

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Gentle Tramp
May 19, 2016 8:33 am

Painful though it is to defend Greens, I’m not sure there is a paradox. Greens want Man to return to his/her pre-Lapsarian state too, which they interpret as socialism essentially.
Thus they believe tat both nature and Man have been spoiled and ruined by the evils of capitalism and consumerism.

Reply to  Gentle Tramp
May 19, 2016 8:56 am

Are you saying that Greens don’t believe in evolution???

Gentle Tramp
Reply to  Gentle Tramp
May 19, 2016 9:32 am

Well, most of them will tell you that they believe in evolution of course, at least in the long run.
But their extreme eagerness to save every single species and any tiny biosphere, or in other words, their extreme conservatism for current conditions in nature displays a strange contrast to their intense quest to change the conditions of the current state of human societies and traditions.

Reply to  Gentle Tramp
May 19, 2016 11:05 pm

Polar gears and grizzlies are going to have to share toilet facilities with “grolar bears”.
Oh Wait, they a;ready do.
See what happens when toilet facilities are shared!

Reply to  Gentle Tramp
May 20, 2016 6:05 pm

Gentle Tramp,
“It is indeed an interesting paradox that Greens are strictly against any changes in the natural realm but are very fervent zealots for social, economic and gender changes in the human sphere. What does this paradox tell us about their psychology?”
It tells me it’s not real, as in, a relatively small number of actors/manipulators are displaying various attitudes/positions, and the mass media/propaganda system is presenting them as “role models”, which some imitate without much critical thought.
In short, virtually no one actually holds strong views along the contradictory lines you draw, it’s a synthetic, make-believe psychology, I believe. It entices and ensnares many narcissistic folks, because they (naturally) do not critically examine their own beliefs/words/actions.

Reply to  Ray Prebble
May 19, 2016 6:15 am

You mean, change to how they _think_ things were. In some fantasy Edenic past that never actually existed. Really, most of the tenets of the hardcore Green movement are just that old-time religion, repackaged for a secular age.

Reply to  Goldrider
May 19, 2016 8:29 am

Old time religion – not retold. They are trying to parallel and re-create God, and God’s work.
Just as many of us scientists are striving to do. I know I will step on toes to suggest this.
–The final step is to re-create the planet – this is my explanation for the idea of colonizing Mars, an idea in the scientific realm as far back as the 50s.

Reply to  Ray Prebble
May 19, 2016 7:52 am

It is more that greens view nature as a static never changing image. Such as they would see on a post card. How they first viewed some piece of nature is how that piece of nature should and must remain or something is wrong. They have a serious problem with the fact that nature is a dynamic constantly changing system never the same twice.

Reply to  Ray Prebble
May 19, 2016 11:35 am

What the hell is Gondwanaland? Like a section of Panjea or something?

Paul of Alexandria
Reply to  Logos_wrench
May 19, 2016 8:49 pm

“Pangea”,,and yes.
It was what is now South Amaerica, Antarctica, Arabia, India, and Africa during the Triassic, 200 M. years ago.
Funny, I don’t think that England was in Gondwanaland, it was in Laurasia, in the Northern Hemisphere.

May 19, 2016 1:54 am

Humans are hybrids and the pure strains may re-emerge ?
I am a Crom myself, and always considered the greens to be Nandys

Reply to  EternalOptimist
May 19, 2016 7:03 am

They already have — they’re running for POTUS.

May 19, 2016 1:54 am

Neanderthal DNA was sequenced by a German research institute from a heel bone. Though fragmented, it was enough to indicate that all populations contain on average of about 3-4% Neanderthal genes, but obviously only populations outside Africa.
As for the polar bears, they’re thriving (even without a touch of the Grizzly brush).

Tim Hammond
Reply to  Pointman
May 19, 2016 8:34 am

But some populations have more than others. Some have very little, not just the original African “Remainers”.

Reply to  Pointman
May 19, 2016 9:21 am

Trite but true, and we all don’t have the same 3-4% either. It’s been calculated that in our gene pool, we carry in total approximately 20% of their genome. Current African populations contain no Neanderthal genes, since the latter speciated from an earlier wave out of Africa into the northern climes of Eurasia and therefore there was no possibility to interbreed.

David A
Reply to  Pointman
May 19, 2016 10:01 pm

But Pointman, the article had a highly scientific study on this new phenomena,
“Chris Servheen, a bear biologist and Adjunct Associate Research Professor at the University of Montana, said sightings of this hybrid bear species have been very rare in the past.
“But they seem to be more common now,” he said.

May 19, 2016 2:01 am

Are the bears engaging in GMO?

Reply to  jarthuroriginal
May 19, 2016 5:21 am

No, just unprotected sex. Romantic nights under the auroras, and that kinda hot stranger can look really appealing!

Reply to  JLawson
May 19, 2016 11:27 am

OH NO!!! The “white bears” are breeding with the “brown bears” and it must be stopped!!!! Which culture will the cubs identify with most? (Equal rights for ALL bears I say! Let them “love” whom they choose to love! Get out of the bear bedrooms! ) muhuhahahahahaha

David A
Reply to  JLawson
May 19, 2016 10:11 pm

Well we know they can use whatever restroom they identify with.

Dodgy Geezer
May 19, 2016 2:03 am

… the river environment, traditionally very English with poplars, oaks and grass, is to be converted to how things were in Gondwanaland….
Why stop at Gondwanaland?
Let’s take it up to several hundred degrees, cover it with lava, give it a red-hot CO2 atmosphere, and occasionally throw rocks into it at supersonic speeds.
That’s how it was in the Hadean…

Bloke down the pub
May 19, 2016 2:08 am

I saw a tv programme a couple of years back about a cross-bred bear that had been shot by a hunter and his Inuit guide. Because their license was only for Polar bears, they both ended up being prosecuted by the authorities for killing the bear without the necessary permissions.

Reply to  Bloke down the pub
May 19, 2016 7:29 am

Bloke down the pub,
Actually, the *threat* in that case was that the animal shot was a grizzly, when their tag was for a polar bear. Ultimately, the hunters were safe because there are no rules about hybrids – they are fair game for anyone.
I covered this issue yesterday soon after a CBC article came out, if you want all the background. I was sad to see, Eric, that the story had legs – but of course it would, the press loves any polar bear incident that can be blamed on climate change.
Notice that these are not the usual “experts” being interviewed for these stories – were the polar bear specialists unavailable or just unwilling to go along with the blame-game?
Grizzlies are not moving north into the Hudson Bay area – they are moving SOUTH from Nunavut because there is so many of them. Essentially, they may be recovering range they occupied centuries ago. Their movements are not a sign of climate change but a normal result of a recovering population.
As far as I can tell, whether or not this animal was a hybrid (or a second-generation hybrid) has not been confirmed by DNA testing. Some aspects of it make me wonder…
So far, DNA tests on all wild-caught hybrids have been crosses between an male grizzly and a female polar bear. One animal (a female) was a second generation cross (she was the result of a mating between a male grizzly and a female grizzly/polar bear cross).
So we know for sure that female offspring are fertile but there is no evidence yet that males are fertile (they may be but we can’t be sure). This is often the case with hybrids – females usually fertile, males infertile.
Dr. Susan Crockford, zoologist

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 8:17 am

Is it their gender or their sex that is of issue here?

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 8:22 am

Yes, Haldane’s Rule
But all it takes is repeated back crossings and out crossings with the fertile offspring to generate a stable cross. The idea of a “species barrier” really is more like “a species strong suggestion”.
Since Polar Bears evolved from grizzlies it is by definition the case that they interbread more in the past. That it still happens, though rare, just says the speciation isn’t complete yet.
Canids widely hybridize even in the wild. Bears are related to canids. No surprize that a category with weak speciation barriers has hybrids…

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 9:17 am

Thanks Dr. Susan
That makes perfect, logical, sense. Population growth induces geographic drift from being territorial.

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 11:14 am

Thanks for responding here Dr Crockford.
As soon as I see a polar bear story here I scroll for your input and skip reading the post

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 11:28 am

Very interesting, thanks.

May 19, 2016 2:16 am

We should learn to be more sensitive.
Maybe one of this bear’s parents chose to identify with a species other than the one to which it was born and fell in lust.
Looking at all the possibilities that we ‘hupersons’ have thought up regarding personal identity, why should we begrudge other species to engage in a little unconventionality.

Reply to  Asp
May 19, 2016 4:57 am

See… I knew nothing good would come from letting anyone use any restroom they want.
The grizzly should have stuck to the woods and the polar bear should have stuck with the ice. I suppose next my dogs will start wanting to use the litter box.
Who knows where this will all wind up?

Reply to  H.R.
May 19, 2016 8:30 am

Watch out for your dog looking longingly at wolves, or that Coyote eying their shapely profile:
I don’t even want to think about the dog / golden jackel crosses…

Reply to  H.R.
May 19, 2016 9:00 am

Dogs and cats living together? Egads!

Reply to  H.R.
May 19, 2016 10:01 am

EM Smith
Properly raised wolf-dogs make wonderful farm dogs. Best dog I ever had the pleasure of feeding(spayed female). Listening to her sing with her wild brotheren at night was amazing. Super guard dog.
Coy-dogs are probably more common that folks realize, especially with so many urban coyotes these days. (the four legged kind, I mean.)

Whether the bear shot was a hybrid or a light coloured grizzly will be determined when the DNA is done.
White/blonde Grizzly Bears:
I remember seeing cinamon bears and light coloured bears many times out hunting with my dad as teenager in British Columbia. I never considered these bears rare or odd.
People read an MSM story and without experience in the appropriate wild places, they simply accept it as gospel. Yet a few minutes on the Internet tells you that genetics is complex and animals with white fur are not always albinos. There are several non-albino white moose in the Prince George/Smithers area of BC. Black noses, black eyes, but white coats.
Life is amazing.

Reply to  Asp
May 19, 2016 5:04 am

Right on, sister. You can be whatever you wanna be. T’aint no one gonna tell you what you have to be. You wanna be a cat, you be a cat.

Reply to  Asp
May 19, 2016 5:16 am

What’s next? Grizzlies and Polar bears sharing the same bathroom?

Reply to  RH
May 19, 2016 5:22 am

Cats and dogs living together!

Reply to  RH
May 19, 2016 9:47 am

They better stay out of NC then..

Reply to  RH
May 19, 2016 12:10 pm

When the coyotes around here start lookin’ half-Labradoodle, I’ll know it’s happening . . .

May 19, 2016 2:33 am

All kidding aside, are these hybrids fertile?

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 19, 2016 6:18 am

I’ve read that they’re the same basic species as grizzlies, just adapted to life in the Great White North. Arctic foxes and rabbits change their coat colors seasonally from white to brown; the bears might start doing the same. I’m sure they’re more concerned with people shooting them than their climate adaptations.

phil cartier
Reply to  joel
May 19, 2016 4:55 am

You have to consider that the difference between a grizzly, a polar bear, and a grolar is similar to the difference between a soccer player, an NFL quarterback, and an NBA point guard. In other words, not much. A polar bear has white fur, a longer neck, and a mother that taught it to swim. In other words they are slight variations of one species.

Reply to  phil cartier
May 19, 2016 5:07 am

So where does a rugby player get to be in your analogy? Obviously way above the ‘NBA point guard’ (whatever she is). So a rugby player would be some animal we haven’t yet discovered which is a cross between an alligator and a lion?

Reply to  phil cartier
May 19, 2016 5:37 am

Well, Polar Bears are evolving rapidly. Dentition has changed in just the last several millennia to be adapted to a pure carnivorous (i.e. seal) diet.
Of course, some people see the result as bad news, but it seems to me PBs can evolve some more or pick up old genes by hybridization. Or it’s going to turn colder and and cause everything grief.

Reply to  phil cartier
May 19, 2016 6:56 am

Of course you have to ask, if you cross an American with a Brit, would the child be fertile?

Reply to  phil cartier
May 19, 2016 8:35 am

Yes, I am. Son hybridized with a Puerto Rican / Dutch hybrid, so third generation looks to be changing from hocky goalies to rugby / soccer cross types 🙂

Ben of Houston
Reply to  joel
May 19, 2016 10:22 am

Yes, at least some of them are. There is a reason they are both Ursus Arctos. They are just different subspecies (horribilis vs maritimus) because they can breed true.

Johann Wundersamer
May 19, 2016 2:37 am

Climate change is when there’s no Apartheid amongst bear populations.

Reply to  Johann Wundersamer
May 19, 2016 6:22 am

Watch out, some special snowflakes at a university somewhere will start a club: Humans for Bear Apartheid. Better get a safe space ready.

May 19, 2016 2:38 am

Surely cross breeding usually gives rise to F1 hybrids that are infertile such as the horse and the donkey to give Mules. You cannot breed mules with mules. Mick G 
From: Watts Up With That? To: Sent: Thursday, 19 May 2016, 9:29 Subject: [New post] Greens Panic at Evidence of Polar Bear Climate Adaptability
Eric Worrall posted: “Guest essay by Eric WorrallThe discovery of a rare wild Grolar bear, a fertile Grizzly / Polar bear hybrid, is being treated as a terrifying sign of global warming in the Arctic. Grolar bears: Climate change could be behind grizzly-polar bear”

David Chappell
Reply to  mickgreenhough
May 19, 2016 3:43 am

Not necessarily, it depends on the genetic separation and one would assume grizzly and polar bears are closely related. That said, it is possible for individuals notionally of the same species that cannot interbreed. I recall reading (for the moment I can’t find the reference) a common species of bird distributed around the world has small genetic changes from area to area such that when the wheel comes full circle, the final “product” cannot interbreed with the original.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  David Chappell
May 19, 2016 4:42 am

So what’s the problem – bears don’t care.

Johann Wundersamer
Reply to  David Chappell
May 19, 2016 4:48 am

different to Wall Street :
up the bulls, down bear.

Reply to  David Chappell
May 19, 2016 7:14 am

Good example of this in the US is the leopard frog, the one that kids used to dissect in biology class. They exist along the length of the Mississippi from Minnesota to New Orleans. While contiguous populations breed and produce fertile young as one moves southward, individuals from Minnesota and from Louisiana are not able to produce fertile young. One definition of species is a population of organisms capable of breeding and producing fertile young. Using just that definition, the entire population of frogs along the Mississippi are the same species but, are at the same time, NOT the same species. Life has a way of confounding our best efforts to categorize it.

Javert Chip
Reply to  David Chappell
May 19, 2016 7:33 am

Yea, I have the same problem with women from New Jersey – I think it’s their accent.

Reply to  mickgreenhough
May 19, 2016 4:30 am

In terms of a hybrid being fertile, I do recall hearing that two species which share a common immediate ancestor can successfully mate. Whether the offspring is fertile seemed to be a 50/50 proposition. Apparently such hybridisation can occur up to two million years after the initial separation/speciation.

Reply to  Pointman
May 19, 2016 8:45 am

It isn’t that simple, and there are some crosses even further removed. Fertility is also more complex (see Haldane’s Rule link above).
BTW, crosses with different chromosome numbers can also be done. Goat Sheep hybrids are common, for example.
When you get into plants is is even more exotic. The Triangle of Wu describes the three original species that mutually cross (with doubling of chromosome counts) to make the 3 new “species” families that give us most of our cruciferous vegetables (cabbages, kales, turnips, mustards, etc).
There are a LOT more.. nature is happy to mix genes between species.

Reply to  Pointman
May 19, 2016 9:04 am

I read somewhere that the limit was closer to 75,000 years.

Reply to  Pointman
May 19, 2016 9:37 am

Hello EM Smith. Yes, I’m aware this is a complex area, if only because the science (read rules), is very new and far from settled. The relatively new techniques of gene analysis and the acceptance of the previously dismissed idea that hybridisation is a more active component of evolution and therefore speciation than thought in former years.
Hello MarkW. 75,000 years appears a bit short, while the 2 million number astonished me when I heard it. Perhaps someone out there with expertise in the area can advise?

Phil R
Reply to  Pointman
May 19, 2016 9:43 am

I quickly skimmed your last sentence and read, “nature is happy to mix greens species” and a naturally provided salad crossed my mind.

Reply to  mickgreenhough
May 19, 2016 8:35 am

Recall that horses and mules have different numbers of chromosomes; this is generally considered to account for the sterility of mules (and hinnies).
I don’t know if grizzlies and polar bears have the same number of chromosomes; if so, I would think that the F1 offspring would be fertile.

Reply to  Akatsukami
May 19, 2016 8:50 am

I have seen a mule and her colt… Dad was a horse in keeping with Haldane’s Rule. Mules are not all sterile and mule breeders usually “do in” any offspring as undesired off types.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  mickgreenhough
May 19, 2016 10:24 am

Not in this case. That’s why Grizzlies and Polars are different subspecies of Ursus Arctos.

May 19, 2016 2:41 am

Nice one again Eric! Still working on my project but just got this up at the DB. It will give you an Idea of where I am going.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
May 19, 2016 3:30 am

Thanks! I have included Canadian issues as a group in Ontario were very helpful. The Canadian government seems to be less than forthcoming on several important aspects that need to be addressed. Same goes for the States and elsewhere.

Reply to  john
May 19, 2016 10:14 am

Eric and John,
Something else that must concern the usual concerned people: heffalumps.

May 19, 2016 2:45 am

“Some scientists even claim hybridisation was not only important, but essential to the rise of modern humans.”
Since greens hate modern humans with a passion, it gives them another reason to be terrified of hybridisation. Imagine what despicable horrors the grolars will unleash on the world? Nuclear-powered SUVs?

Johann Wundersamer
May 19, 2016 2:59 am

Es tut Einem in der Seele weh ständig mit solchen Schwachheiten behelligt zu werden.
You’re confronted with people looking, behaving like grownups.Then they tell their storys about unicorns, antropomorphical smiling sun flowers and with equal antropomorphical smiling fluffy pink dolphins train their children sustainability. Because tomorrow earth’s resources are depleted infinetly.

Johann Wundersamer
May 19, 2016 3:20 am

Then you know that’s psychopaths, adressing the same expressions to sun flowers as to their children.

May 19, 2016 3:37 am

Hybrids? Well, strictly speaking Polar Bears and Brown Bears belong to the same species (being subspecies), since the can produce fertile “hybrid” offsprings. However the white and brown subspecies are very well adapted to their respective environments, so “hybrids” will likely have lower Darwinian fitness and become removed by natural selection, unless the Arctic environment alters to some kind of “hybrid” environment that suits them better..

May 19, 2016 3:43 am

I’ve long conjectured that when the deep greens wipe out humanity, (along with every ape and monkey down to the smallest lemur on Madagascar), with their Phil the Greek virus, that it would be a race between the dogs, pigs and bears to replace us as the dominant intelligent species.
My money’s on the bears and the fact that polars and grizzlies, (and black and brown bears), can hybridize so easily, added to their ability to stand on their own two feet and grab food with their front paws, gives them a bit of an advantage.
I’ve tried to point out to the misanthropic green nutters that their desire to cut the human population back to a half billion would give poor Gaia a break of less than a thousand years before we’d be back building factories powered by coal, and even if they wiped out everything with an opposable thumb, (including the aforementioned lemur), something else would take our place in less than a million years.
And guys, Gaia doesn’t give a toss which species is on top or how many smoky factories they build. Mainly on account of the fact that there’s no such entity as gaia.

Reply to  Kevin_B46
May 21, 2016 12:38 am

My money would be on cats.
They do what works for THEM.
Sorry dog lovers, but have you ever seen cats pulling a sled?

May 19, 2016 3:59 am

[ … ‘Polar bears are thought to have diverged from a population of brown bears that became isolated during a period of glaciation in the Pleistocene or from the eastern part of Siberia, (from Kamchatka and the Kolym Peninsula).
The evidence from DNA analysis is more complex. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the polar bear diverged from the brown bear, Ursus arctos, roughly 150,000 years ago. Further, some clades of brown bear, as assessed by their mtDNA, are more closely related to polar bears than to other brown bears, meaning that the polar bear might not be considered a species under some species concepts. The mtDNA of extinct Irish brown bears is particularly close to polar bears. A comparison of the nuclear genome of polar bears with that of brown bears revealed a different pattern, the two forming genetically distinct clades that diverged approximately 603,000 years ago, although the latest research is based on analysis of the complete genomes (rather than just the mitochondria or partial nuclear genomes) of polar and brown bears, and establishes the divergence of polar and brown bears at 400,000 years ago.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Life goes on.

May 19, 2016 4:02 am

I’m not sure it would be wise to resist the sexual advances of a grizzly bear. I’ve read that the best thing to do when a grizzly approaches Is to lie on the ground and accept what happens.

Reply to  Alex
May 19, 2016 9:07 am

Is that what happened to DiCapprio in his latest movie?

David Smith
May 19, 2016 4:07 am

According to the bear (I think it is the same bear referred to here) has not been confirmed as a hybrid through DNA testing. It may be an albino grizzly because of its location (on land) and condition (thin like a grizzly that just came out of hibernation). Known hybrids usually have a polar bear mother and thus would be fat on seals at this time of year.

Reply to  David Smith
May 19, 2016 10:09 am

David Smith – the bear is not an albino as nose and eyes were black, not pink, but white Grizzly and Black Bears are not unusual. But the rest of what you said is correct.

May 19, 2016 4:36 am

Better scrap all Priuses, ASAP.

May 19, 2016 4:42 am

If grizzlies and polar bears can interbreed and have fertile offspring, then they belong to the same species — they are just different races. Insisting that the hybrids are a problem, and the preferment of pure polar bears, would constitute “racism” and “white privilege.”

Reply to  Michael Palmer
May 19, 2016 5:52 am


May 19, 2016 4:57 am

“My question: why aren’t greens celebrating this find, as evidence that Polar bears are capable of rapidly changing their phenotype, in response to radical changes to the polar climate?”
Wait … is the polar climate radically changing?

May 19, 2016 5:07 am

So what percentage of the 22,000 – 31,000 existing (white) polar bears are classified as Grolar or Pizzly bears? I’m really really worried…
Polar Bear Population ref:

May 19, 2016 5:22 am

“…is being treated as a terrifying sign of global warming in the Arctic.”
Now CAGW is tuning the cute, cuddly polar bears into golar killing machines! It won’t be long before they give up on trash heaps and head straight for schools.

May 19, 2016 5:47 am

So… protect the grizzly bears…..protect the polar bears…..there’s more of them…..they both expand their range
….and cross breed
We play real loose with this “species” thing……

May 19, 2016 5:50 am

“They seem to be more common now”
And that could not possibly result from having a much higher population of observers in the arctic than at any time in the past?

Reply to  Richard
May 19, 2016 9:09 am

It could also have to do with having a much higher population of Polar Bears in the arctic.

Reply to  Richard
May 19, 2016 9:27 am

Bingo!!! And this principle applies to every aspect of climate science, and also of life.
Even non-existent things can become more numerous when their is some incentive to discover them.
For example, during the witch craze, witchfinders noted that witches were becoming increasingly numerous.
Of course, now we are discovering more extreme weather, river erosion, glacial retreat, flooding, extinctions, hybrid polar bears etc etc.
Often, in places where we were not previously looking.
It seems as though the more we look, the more things we find.
The general public are far too trusting of the nonsense that is delivered to them as “science”.
I don’t think that the ordinary person imagines that a “scientist” might be willing to overlook this very obvious consideration.

Reply to  indefatigablefrog
May 19, 2016 9:28 am

Apologies – the first “their” should be “there”. And I should be more careful when posting.

Reply to  Richard
May 19, 2016 9:49 am

“… sightings of this hybrid bear species have been very rare in the past.”
“But they seem to be more common now,” he said.”
1) When you spend more tie looking for something, you’re more likely to find it.
2) AND as pointed out by Dr. Crockford, above, the larger polar population can/will cause expansion out of its common range and habitat.
3) But, since the most reasonable 1 & 2 don’t justify the appropriate ends, our (and by “our”, I mean yours) CO2 output must therefore must be assumed to be the primary cause.

Bruce Cobb
May 19, 2016 5:56 am

“But some scientists say the two bear species are breeding more often because climate change is causing them to cross paths.”
“Some scientists” say a lot of things. Mostly dumb, unscientific things completely lacking in evidence, particularly regarding “climate change”.
Since the meme about “climate change” supposedly threatening polar bears except that their numbers were increasing didn’t pan out, I suppose now they’ll try latching onto this ridiculous claim.

Billy Liar
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 19, 2016 7:20 am

Obviously, the grizzly bears are not paying attention to that sign on the border of Nunavut that says ‘Polar Bears only beyond this line’.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
May 19, 2016 10:53 am

Bruce in addition to “some scientists” you have the quote there “seems” to be more hybrids now than before. Seems like the usual hype. Not one measurement in a carload of somes and seems and maybes and coulds a plenty.

Tom Halla
May 19, 2016 6:03 am

This is something of a rehash of the old dispute between “lumpers” and “splitters” in naming species. Once, there were several named species of brown bears.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 19, 2016 7:16 am

Even with all the genetic sequencing, there is still the question of how much of a genetic difference is “necessary” to differentiate between species, subspecies, etc. I had a professor who pointed out that one could argue that all “splitting” should have the same requirements across the board: x genes/differences are needed to split into any class, any order, any genus. The same number of differences would be needed to differentiate between insect species as mammal species or bird species. Good luck working that out.
Of course, thinking our classifications really matter is an anthropocentric conceit. No animal cares besides humans. If they can breed/mate (and feel the urge), they will. If offspring result, the animal is not going to seek an abortion because the baby is a hybrid.
Things are going to change, whether we like it or not. I am not advocating apathy, but humans need to exercise some humility and gain some perspective. A polar bear is not thinking, “Hey, humans are using fossil fuels. As a result, I now feel an urge to mate with grizzly bears, an urge that did not exist in my species prior to the Industrial Revolution.”

May 19, 2016 6:05 am

From what I read I understand that green are avaient all what is known since Darwin about evolution
So can they be qualified as creativist?
World waw created one way and must ne er change!

GP Hanner
May 19, 2016 6:20 am

A grizzly bear is just a sub-species of brown bear. If the geneticists are correct, Ursus maritimus evolved from the brown bear.

Bloke down the pub
May 19, 2016 6:31 am

On the pitfalls of interbreeding-

May 19, 2016 6:37 am

Perhaps they were both colour blind; or just not racist?

May 19, 2016 6:40 am

Way off scale on the absurdity index:
1- “We have only seen a few examples [ever?]” but we are sure this one bear is evidence of a trend caused by climate change. Oh wait, might not even be a hybrid. Oh wait, we might have killed the only living example. The fundamental green hypocrisy – we had to kill the bear to save it.
2 – Grizzlys don’t like humans – duh – from an early age, young grizzlies learn that humans have bang sticks and kill their parents. Forget the Middle East – the UN should fund a negotiation to end the bear-human hostilities and return the world to its perfect Gaia state, where young children could play and take naps with their bear cub friends while the parents sit around and feast on salmon together.
3 – Assertions based on zero evidence. Maybe they are being “seen more frequently” because hunters are venturing further north due to climate change.
But I can’t wait to see the breathless headline in the HuffPuff this afternoon – “Giant Mutant Grizzly-polar Bears Rampaging Through the Arctic Thanks to Climate Change!”

Reply to  markopanama
May 19, 2016 9:11 am

Grizzly’s and Polar Bears both love humans. Especially with a little ketchup.

Taylor Pohlman
May 19, 2016 6:51 am

I hate to see a good opportunity to do some science wasted by the CAGW zealots, who only take these opportunities to advance the propaganda, not actually find out what’s going on. For example:
1. Is this males impregnating females, or the reverse (would imply different range behaviors)?
2. There is strong evidence (see Susan’s Polar Bear Science blog) that polar bear populations are expanding – is the mating a result of territory pressure (e.g. Polars moving south?), or grizzles moving north?
3. Polar bears can survive for long periods in southern ranges (ever see any in San Diego at the zoo?), but more importantly, they can spend many summer months away from their source of food, because of spring gorging,
4. While global temperatures are going up (somewhat, barely) globally, what’s happening locally in Canada ranges where these species are coming into contact? Summer cooling? There is some evidence for that, which would make this mating completely irrelevant to CAGW, or even AGW for that matter.
I can think of another four or five questions to investigate that similarly don’t prove anything about the alarmist meme – is anybody doing science on that?
This stuff really irritates me, when there are real scientific questions to answer about phenomena like this.

Leonard Lane
Reply to  Taylor Pohlman
May 19, 2016 10:58 am

“Is this males impregnating females, or the reverse..”. you will need to explain that a little more.

May 19, 2016 7:35 am

Wolves and coyotes sometimes interbreed as well. Republicans and Democrats have been known to marry each other. And the point is…

May 19, 2016 7:54 am

See my comment above – what’s going on is that tundra grizzlies in Nunavut are expanding and moving south into suitable habitat. They were over-hunted for decades (if not centuries) but are now recovering.
As I said, note that this article (and the CBC one I cite) did not consult a polar bear specialist for comment. That’s a bit odd, I think.

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 8:10 am

Indeed. Remove humans and spectacular results, no need for “climate change”

Javert Chip
Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 8:10 am

I’m a fully qualified polar bear non-expert (I know nothing…), and I always enjoy your posts.
I do have a question about your 7:54 post: you say tundra grizzlies are moving south (presumably into polar bear territory); did you mean the polar bears are moving south (presumably into grizzly territory)?

Reply to  Javert Chip
May 19, 2016 8:48 am

No. It’s the grizzlies that are moving – the polar bears have always occupied NW Hudson Bay. As I understand it, the tundra population (in Nunavut – to the north of Arviat, where this bear was shot) are recovering nicely, and moving south into suitable habitat.
The only other possibility is that grizzlies on the prairies are moving east (from Manitoba) but according to recent censuses that seems unlikely – just not that many grizzlies around.

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 8:17 am

why mess up a good climate scare story by asking a real expert???

Taylor Pohlman
Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 8:57 am

Aha, Grizzlies moving south – who would have thought? Susan, thanks, another great example of a cranky non expert being enlightened by an expert. Thanks for taking the time to educate me, and also prove that this has little to do with warming. If grizzlies are moving south, and running into polar bears, you could even make a case that this argues for cooling, not warming…
with wishes for continued success with your blog,

May 19, 2016 8:05 am

Meanwhile, here is the news from Scotland:
“Keepers at a wildlife park were left scratching their heads when what looked like a brown bear
turned up in the polar bear enclosure.”
The photograph is superb…

Reply to  photios
May 19, 2016 3:25 pm

I have to thank you for posting that link. One of the funniest things I have seen in quite a while!

May 19, 2016 8:28 am

How biology has changed. Whatever happened to The Modern Synthesis of Genetics and Evolution?
Ernst Mayr was instrumental in gaining recognition of his biological species concept, according to which a species is a set of organisms that can interbreed among each other.
So are polar bears and grizzly bears different species or merely two varieties of the same species? Are these bears more or less alike than are Great Danes and Saint Bernard dog varieties?

Reply to  Frederick Colbourne
May 19, 2016 9:04 am

More like dogs and wolves, which also freely hybridize… or coyotes and wolves that also hybridize, or…

Reply to  E.M.Smith
May 19, 2016 3:40 pm

Well, dogs are now classified as Canis lupus familiarus. Now every dog owner has a wolf-dog. Even the Pomeranians are now considered wolves. That last fact is probably the best argument against defining species by ability to interbreed. 🙂

May 19, 2016 8:37 am

The more likely reason caused by man is the reduction of bear habitat causing polar bears and grizzlies to cross paths more often. If the planet is warming, habitable surface increases and all of this increase occurs in prime polar bear territory, so you would expect less interaction with other species.

Jimmy Haigh
May 19, 2016 8:39 am

Pizzly bears.

Jimmy Haigh
May 19, 2016 8:41 am

The most likely reason is a randy grizzly/polar bear male meeting a randy polar/grizzly female bear and then getting jiggy with it. Or maybe it’s an albino grizzly?

May 19, 2016 8:43 am

When a group of bears get isolated from the general population, and the lighter-colored ones have greater reproductive success, this is due to a decrease in genetic variability; the light-fur trait was more latent, but in the right conditions has become more common, to the detriment of the full range of genetic variability.
This is not evolution, addition of information, but devolution, loss of information.

May 19, 2016 8:53 am

“but essential to the rise of modern humans”
Radical environmentals consider modern humans to be the source of all problems. So it’s natural that the process that gave rise to them would be considered evil.

May 19, 2016 8:54 am

This is also evidence that Grizzly’s and Polar Bears aren’t separate species, but merely sub-species.

Reply to  MarkW
May 19, 2016 9:04 am

Sorry Mark, but even animals from different genera can interbreed. A bit of hybridization does not invalidate separate species status. Many people are taught that simple rule but it’s actually more complicated than that.

Reply to  susanjcrockford
May 19, 2016 9:09 am

Different genera, yet crosses are common despite different chromosome counts…
It isn’t a species barrier, only a species strong suggestion…

May 19, 2016 8:55 am

” If the arctic ever warms to such an extent, purebred Polar Bears are no longer ecologically viable, they would simply be replaced with hybrids, or even near purebred Grizzlies. And when Arctic conditions cooled again, creating strong selection pressure for lighter fur, “Polar Bears” would quickly re-emerge from the diverse ursine gene pool.”
Evidence shows that this is exactly what happened in the past when temperatures rose or fell.

May 19, 2016 9:01 am

The polar bears’ island is sinking; the grizzly bears’ island is sinking, so they are forced to swim out to a third, strange, foreign island somewhere in between. This means loss of identity and culture. Could governments not step in and arrange expensive I mean extensive programs to preserve bear culture and identity? Start by parachuting in grief counselors… Provide safe spaces… And inclusive restrooms…

Mike Maguire
May 19, 2016 9:21 am

Perfect planetary conditions were just before the Industrial Revolution and humans commencing the big increase in burning fossil fuels.
CO2~280 parts per million=perfect(even though plants were starving and would have been shutting down if CO2 had decreased 120 ppm instead of increased that much)
Global temperature then, shortly after the Little Ice Age has also been deemed as the perfect temperature, to use as a metric to compare where we have come from and where we are headed.
A snap shot of life on the planet(that we think existed) during that time frame is also seen as the near perfect environment that we should judge all changes in life since then by.
It is true that humans have had some profoundly , widespread, negative impacts on life and the environment of planet earth. This continues today. However, the increase in CO2 from 280 ppm to 400 ppm has rescued life from dangerously low levels of this beneficial gas.
The best thing that we could do would be to increase CO2 another 120 ppm and concentrate on cleaning up the real pollution.

May 19, 2016 9:44 am

It is part of the church dogma for the Church of Climate Change.
The Roman Catholic Church tried to cling to geocentrist view of the universe even as the scientific observational evidence built that it was at least heliocentric. Then it was church dogma of an earth and mankind ruling over it that wasat the center of God’s creation.
Today, the Church of Climate Change central dogma is that any change in climate, and by extension any plant or animal adaption in response, is the work of man’s poisoning, defiling, and destruction. This tenet of the church professes on faith that the evil CO2 molecule is “carbon pollution” as the key sin.
And not just any-old CO2 molecule, but that really nasty anthropogenic CO2 molecule that came from oil, gas, or coal burning, as if climate and GHG physics cared on the provenance of the carbon atom. The magical anthropogenic CO2 molecule thus causing all sorts of environmental mayhem according to CC church dogma. Take it on faith. If you don’t believe, then the congregants have perjorative epithets to label you, just as other religions have for heretics, blasphemers, infidels, heathens, and apostates.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 19, 2016 9:54 am

Yes, the Green religion is like all the others. It’s a collection of faith based beliefs reinforced with guilt and fear.

May 19, 2016 10:16 am

I fail to see the “Panic” part in the quote or in the article. Could me explain where you see that “greens panic”?

Bill Sticker
May 19, 2016 11:58 am

If asked, I’d be inclined to remark that wouldn’t increased hybridisation indicate larger populations of both Grizzly and Polar Bear. Meaning more opportunities to interbreed? Surely, given the Greens regular hand waving over Ursus Maritimus being so threatened, should this not be celebrated as ‘good’ news?
For a given value of ‘good’, as in the Greens little world, it appears all change but the change they say they want is ‘bad’.

May 19, 2016 1:17 pm

“And when Arctic conditions cooled again, creating strong selection pressure for lighter fur, “Polar Bears” would quickly re-emerge from the diverse ursine gene pool.”
This made me laugh! I hope it was meant sarcastically, otherwise it should go up for most unscientific comment on a science blog 😉

Brian H
Reply to  benben
May 20, 2016 1:59 am

Lighter fur would emerge by the usual method — selection by differential success.

May 19, 2016 1:17 pm

Since poly bears survived the Holocene Maximum (HM), when temperatures were higher than now, I think they will survive current temperatures. The Siberian forests were much further north in the HM than they are now, so I imagine the polar ice cap was very small at that time.

May 19, 2016 6:24 pm

If modern Humans were developed through crossbreeding, bear crossbreeds SHOULD be feared. Did Neanderthals ever need to fight about warming/climate change?

May 19, 2016 7:07 pm

“the grolar and pizzly bears, as little contact had yet to be made between them and humans”
Wise humans will avoid contact with large, fierce, hungry bears.

May 20, 2016 4:14 am

Are you trying to tell us that polar bears and brown bears are actually the same species? Just different races.

May 23, 2016 9:23 am

It seems to me that if genetics is teaching us anything, it is that nature creates individuals, lineages, and maybe populations. Species and the rest of the Linean stuff is a human-created classification of the reality that’s out there. it’s another case of confusing the description of the thing with the thing itself.

May 25, 2016 10:30 am

To the author,
First of all, thanks for sharing this information. This is pretty cool and a new one to me (in regards to personal general knowledge).
I think the answer to your question is actually quite simple: They are not celebrating it because it does not support their timeframe for their predispositions, along with its assumptions. I am pretty sure that in these days of rapid information sharing, there is going to be a truth revealed that will pull the wobbly legs out from underneath such a silly theory.

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