Life finds a way

I’m constantly baffled by animal conservationists. They scream about an animal dying out, but when that species adapts and changes, they scream about that, too.
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Take the polar bear grizzly hybrids. They know very well that polar bears descended from grizzly bears in the first place–I believe they traced the genetic line to a female bear in Northern Ireland, but don’t quote me.

So some ice is melting and some grizzlies and polar bears have interbred. And the conservationists are wailing that this color won’t be around anymore. In the same breath, they scream about new diseases getting into the Arctic and how hybrids can’t adapt to the environment of the parent species.

In the same article, they say this:

Two days later, the scientists saw another grizzly bear 15 miles offshore on sea ice in Viscount Melville Sound, closer to 74 degrees North. This bear was so fat and healthy that it was almost certainly hunting seals, something that grizzlies on the mainland don’t normally do

So the bears are changing their behavior, too, hybrids or not.

Another fun one is coywolves–a cross between coyotes and wolves. Seems that as people killed off gray wolves, the smaller coyotes took up the slack in the ecosystem. Then the two species interbred, creating a bigger, nastier coyote with the strength to bring down deer. And apparently they’re all over the place.

coywolf

And oh, are the conservationists screaming. The pretty gray wolves are evolving into skinny coywolves!

The bad is that while coyote populations have been expanding, wolf populations have become endangered. Hybridization with coyotes is now a major threat to the recovery of wolves.

Wait, doesn’t a successful hybrid mean that the type of animal is making a dramatic comeback?

I swear, it all comes down to people being mad that animals don’t come in the colors they like.

It’s the same type of animals–ursids and canids. They’re still doing what they’re supposed to do out there in the wild. And they’re adapting to a changing environment, the way they’re supposed to. It’s not like dying species like the river dolphin, which couldn’t hybridize and is officially extinct.

Do we want our designer color animals, or would we rather see them extinct? Sometimes I wonder.

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4 thoughts on “Life finds a way

  1. Cool the bears look awesome and so does that coyote only I don’t think I would want those around, because they have also adapted to living in town. Eating cats and small dogs if need be.
    Very interesting thoughts too.

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  2. You have just answered a question I’ve been wondering about for years: if the world started out all one temperature, how did the polar bears survive? Thank you for this insight.

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  3. I don’t think it’s really about wanting certain colors, I think it’s more about finding “problems” with the animals so they can blame people and keep people out of nature (roped off dunes at the beach, anyone?). It’s animal worship, with a nastier under-agenda of populace control. (Can you tell I’ve been reading conspiracy stuff lately? haha)

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  4. Actually, it’s not because of colors, it’s because evolution is “supposed to” run a specific direction, and this ain’t it. This is two populations merging, instead of diverging.

    Ironically, this is BETTER. Because it means more diversity in the gene pool. (Shh….we’re told speciation increases genetic diversity…but if you look at domestic animals, what defines a breed is *sameness*.)

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