Climate Change Has Given Birth to New Hybrid Species: Transformation Before Man's Eyes

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By Sarah Thomas | August 20, 2014 9:58 AM EST

Global warming is melting the old Arctic ice and this is the reason that natural habitats are destroyed, but nature's wonder is such that this meltdown and the transformation happening around have given birth to new hybrid animals.

Reuters
Twin polar bear cubs stand with their mother Giovanna in their enclosure at Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich, March 19, 2014. The 14-week-old cubs, who made their first public appearance on Wednesday, have yet to be named. (REUTERS/Michael Dalder)

When two similar species are forced to tread the same territory, they give birth to new animals. This transformation of the animal kingdom, unfolding before man's eyes is something called a miracle. In 2006, a white bear with brown patches was shot by Arctic hunters. This amazed them as it was a species of bear that these hunters had never seen before. The bear was believed to be a hybrid of a polar bear and a grizzly bear.

Three kinds of the similar bears were found and shot by hunters and they call this species prizzly or grolar bears. David Paetkau, British Columbia wildlife geneticist who confirmed the "prizzly's" parentage, is of the opinion that due to the shortage of female polar bears, the males were forced to mate with the grizzlys.

A study that was published last year in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that cross breeding between the two species has existed since ages. The study states that cross-breeding is more common when the weather is warm, even in the past during these periods, polar bear populations crashed with the grizzlys that are moving north.

In 2009, a unique species of a marine creature was captured in photo in the Bering Sea. The specie was a hybrid of a white whale and a bowhead whale.

It is not just man made changes that has an effect on the environment that causes this. It is also seen that in some cases, these hybrid animals are a response to the changing environment. There was a new crossbred animal that was born when a sudden increase in the population of white-tailed deer was seen on the East Coast of the US. The coywolf is a mixture of Western coyotes and wolves that hunts the deer.  The coywolves are strong and hunt in packs that it can also adapt to live near humans like the coyotes.

Global warming is the biggest cause of hybridization. With the melting of ice, more species of seals, whales and bears will cross breed with other aquatic species.

There is still a problem even though this sort of a transformation is fascinating and beautiful, these animals are infertile. Its inability to mate with their own kind can result in extinction of the species. This however, is not true with all the hybrids, the coywolf can mate and successfully multiply.

A study that was conducted was published in the journal Nature in 2010. It named 34 species that would possibly cross breed due to the warming climate.

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(Photo: Reuters / )
Twin polar bear cubs stand with their mother Giovanna in their enclosure at Tierpark Hellabrunn in Munich, March 19, 2014. The 14-week-old cubs, who made their first public appearance on Wednesday, have yet to be named. (REUTERS/Michael Dalder)
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