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.