As Arctic regions in North America and Russia are warming brown bears are moving north so they are crossing paths with polar bears more often. Brown bears and polar bears can mate and produce fertile offspring, referred to as “brolar” bears, and these hybrids bears are becoming more common, and the hybrids are also breeding with brown bears. Scientists are now concerned that polar bears will become extinct from hybridisation as well as from climate change.
Brown bears are considered to be more adaptable than polar bears as brown bears have a more varied diet. According to an article in Science Alert, “Unlike polar bears, which mostly feed on blubber and meat, brown bears have a super varied diet. They will eat just about anything they can get their paws on, which means these are likely to better cope with any environmental changes that might come in the future.”
The article goes on: “Polar bears are not nearly so adaptable, but perhaps new genes from brown bears could help the species survive in the Arctic. If that’s the case, polar bears may still exist in the decades to come, but they’ll never be quite the same as before. One day, they could even represent an entirely new species.”
Reference: Science Alert 17 September 2022
Editorial Comment: The people who live with polar bears will tell you that polar bears will also eat whatever they can get their paws onto, and a visit to any Zoo in the west will tell you the same. Check out the Polar Bear pages on Sea World, Queensland, Australia
Nevertheless, a bit of gene mixing may be good for both species, to help them survive and adapt. Note, however, the adaptation that is referred to here is not evolution. It is simply the ability to cope with changes in the environment, and it cannot change the bears into any new kind of animal.
Brown/polar bear hybrids are sometimes called “grolar bears” after the grizzly bear, which is a type of brown bear. Whatever they are named, even if they are classified as a new species they will not have evolved. They are still bears. The fact that polar bears and brown bears can mate and produce fertile offspring indicates they are both part of the one bear kind.
The brolar bears have been proven to be able to still mate with brown bears and produce offspring, so classifying them as a new species serves only as a reminder that the classification system is simply a means of organising our knowledge of the living world and does not represent evolution. Even if the distinctive white furred polar bears disappear, their mutant colour loss genes will still be in the bear population, so they could be bred back if anyone wanted to do that.
Environmentalists should stop worrying, and let bears do their own thing and practice survival of the fittest, which is a real process, but it never makes anything do Darwinian evolution.
Creation Research News 7 December 2022
Were you helped by this item? If so, consider making a donation so we can keep sending out our newsletters and add more items to this archive. Donate here.