Wild Hybrid Animals Courtesy of Climate Change
Have you ever considered what a cross between a polar bear and a grizzly bear would look like? It turns out it’s pretty cute!
Yes, the “grolar bear” is a real animal but, despite its sweet, cuddly appearance, it’s actually a bad omen for the earth.
Climate Change Is Producing Hybrid Animals
As it turns out, scientists have been discovering a myriad of hybrid animals such as coywolves (coyote + eastern wolf), narlugas (narwhal + beluga whale), and grolar bears (polar bear + grizzly bear). These hybrids are a result of animals adapting to the changing environment. Polar bears, for instance, have been moving ashore because of melting sea ice. Grizzly bears have been wandering north because of increasing temperatures and more time spent out of hibernation.
Hybrid Animals Are Actually a Bad Sign
It’s amazing how animals evolve and adapt to their environment in the face of difficult circumstances, but the rapid emergence of odd hybrid animals is more alarming than comforting.
The hybridization of species is a kind of evolution that usually takes centuries; now, it is taking as little time as decades or even years. A 2009 report by biologists Brendan Kelly and David Tallmon highlights the devastating consequences this will have for biodiversity, producing species that aren’t able to thrive or even survive in the environments into which they are born and driving certain species to complete extinction. Says Kelly, “We’re forcing change to happen so quickly that it is more likely to promote extinctions than provide adaptive responses.”
The increasing occurrence of hybrid animals in the wild is just one more reason to stop greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment from global warming. No, we won’t have any more of those adorable coywolves, but we will get to hang on to the many other species we already know and love.
To learn more, watch this and then head over to ThisPlanet.TV for other videos about climate change and energy alternatives:
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