Friday, October 26, 2007

Grizzly-Polar Bear Hybrid

A DNA test has confirmed what zoologists, hunters and aboriginal trackers in the far northern reaches of Canada have dreamed of for years: the first documented case of a grizzly-polar bear in the wild.

Territorial officials seized the bear's body and a DNA test from Wildlife Genetics International, a lab in British Columbia, confirmed the hybrid was born of a polar bear mother and grizzly father.
Whoa, a Grizlar. That is pretty cool (and don't be thinking of calling it a Polzly, that's just plain silly).

Now, I am on the record as saying I do not condone interspecies sex. I don't know if that is legal up there in Canada, but it shouldn't be. Just because you are a beast, doesn't mean it isn't beastiality. And just because it happened in nature doesn't make it natural.

And don't be thinking that I am a racist because this was between a brown and a white bear. Wrong. This isn't about the color of their skin fur. This is about sticking within your species like God intended. Could you imagine what would have happened on Noah's ark if the animals didn't stick with the ones they were paired up with?
The DNA results were good news for the 65-year-old hunter, who was facing a possible $909 fine and up to a year in jail for shooting a grizzly.
Yeah, good news. The man shoots the one and only known wild Grizlar in all of history and we can all breath a sigh of relief that it wasn't one of the 50,000+ grizzlies.

via Seattle Times


Audacious Epigone said...

So I guess there is no 'one drop' rule in the bear world, eh?

climateer said...

Is it interspecies?
In answer to my related query, Russell Seitz proprietor at ADAMANT said "Ursus Maritimus is less a species that a job decription.
Is the Grizlar fertile?
Who will volunteer? FK?

Fat Knowledge said...


No one drop rule in effect here. But if it was a black bear, well, I don't know.


As for being a different species, I would think so as they look different, don't normally breed together (as far as I know), live in different areas and hunt differently. But, the link you mention has a link to an Economist article that states:

Since it is changes in DNA that cause species to evolve apart, looking at DNA should be a good way to divide the natural world. However, it depends which bit of DNA you look at. The standard technique says, for example, that polar bears are just brown bears that happen to be white.

I don't know what that means, but maybe the case for being separate isn't that strong.

Good question on whether the Grizlar is fertile. I think since it is dead that we won't know. But maybe they ought to raise a couple in zoos and find out.

Audacious Epigone said...

It is tough to draw the line as to where a sub-species ends and a species begins. The ability to mate successfully is often assumed to be the standard, but in this case, and most ostensibly in the case of donkeys and horses, this just doesn't feel right, as the offspring is infertile.

Fat Knowledge said...

Yes, good question on the sub-species. I don't know if the various kinds of bears can bread with one another and have fertile offspring.

In this report they make the following statement on page 509:

It is difficult to envisage the survival of polar bears as a species given a zero summer sea-ice scenario. Their only option would be a terrestrial summer lifestyle similar to that of brown bears, from which they evolved. In such a case, competition, risk of hybridization with brown bears and grizzly bears, and increased interactions with people would then number among the threats to polar bears.

This makes it sound like hybridization is possible.

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