Sunday, July 10, 2016

They Really Couldn't Think of a Better Name Than "Grolar Bears"?

     The first article that I chose to read this summer was the one talking about the future of hybrid crossing among similar species of animals. I chose this article because it seemed the most interesting to me out of the three options. I also clearly remember doing hybrid crosses and punnet squares back in biology, and I think in all honesty, doing punnet squares, and just the genetics unit in general, was my favorite part of the whole year.
     Something I found particularly interesting about this article was the example of the "grolar bear", or the hybrid cross between a grizzly bear and a polar bear. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but don't those two species live in completely different environments? The chances of encountering one of those bad boys must be incredibly low because of this. I was also curious, because what cause an animal to want to breed with a different species? Will a bird one day look at a different bird and think "hmm...close enough?" and just go for it? Also, what qualifies a species to be a similar species? I mean, obviously we won't see any grizzly bear/bird hybrids, but where is the line drawn between being similar and being different? (I'm not actually sure if my questions are all common knowledge with really easy answers, I'm just curious.)
     But I also feel like this could be a tactic to keep the traits of an animal (ie the polar bear) alive in a scenario where their current environment is rapidly changing for the worst. The idea of mating with a different species in this scenario makes sense, since if the offspring carry traits of the other species, maybe one that isn't on the brink of extinction, their chance of survival will be greater, because they'll be able to adapt to the environment of the other species. However, they would still be the minority in that community, and even though grolar bears may have the potential to out live the polar bears, the chance of them living longer than the fittest, most adapt species to the environment, the grizzly bear, is nearly impossible. And since the environments are (I think) very different, one of these species would have to do quite a bit of traveling around. Wouldn't they die in the process of travel?  Because of this, my opinion still remains that it's very improbable that we'll see any grolar bears chilling any time soon.
     However, it is a lot more probable that we could see hybrid crosses in animals like birds, because their flying abilities allow them access to different places, and unlike the polar bears, there can be all sorts of species of bears in the same place.


  1. I definitely agree with your stance on the situation. Having written about the same article, I also spoke about similar topics regarding the grolar bears and how unlikely they would be. I specifically agree with the idea of bears not wanting to mate with other bears. It may help to ensure their survival, but how tempted would a polar bear be to a mate with a species of bear it is almost completely unfamiliar with? I know that the chances of these bears mating isn't impossible, but with the grizzly bear already being the thriving bear in the area, I don't believe (as you stated) that they would last a particularly long time as polar bears or hybrids, eventually trailing off to be almost identical to the grizzly bears.

  2. I do find sone truth in the thr statement about "keeping traits". But there are grizzlies that live in Alaska.,which isnt that far from the polar bears. I also agree that even bears might have to draw the line when it comes to mating with a different breed of bear. I don't think that we will see a grolar bears in new hampshire anytime soon.

  3. I read and wrote about the same article that you did. One question you brought up that I also discussed in my response was in regards to chances of survival. You wondered what would cause bears to reproduce outside of their own species and reasoned that perhaps they would be pushed to this extreme by a hostile environment (like melting ice caps or deforestation.) Even so, you said, this practice wouldn't really benefit the species much in the long run. I agree with this, but pose a question/something to think about of my own: since hybridization is somewhat strange behavior, perhaps those animals that mate with other species are not the most fit. Maybe they have genetic mutations that somehow inhibit their ability to distinguish between those of its kind and those of another. Any offspring of these animals would probably carry similar mutations and be similarly unfit; therefore, hybridization would not really help the chances of survival for a species. Either way, this same conclusion is reached. I guess it's good then that the future occurrences of hybridization are predicted to be so low!