Author: Dangerous Experiments
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Last by Sharmeen Omar on Feb 01, 2012, 10:01pm
A provocative aspect of the climate change debate is the impact that temperature changes have on species. In particular, people have used the beloved and majestic polar bear, Ursus maritimus, as a mascot for the negative impact of climate change. A few years ago, it wasn't known that global warming could affect the fundamental definition of the polar bears species.
Polar bears are closely related to grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and it has long been known that these animals can interbreed, creating a rare hybridization of the polar bear and the grizzly bear (formally called Ursus arctos horribilis and more commonly referred to as a grolar).
This hybrid, though extremely rare, has occurred in captivity and has long been storied in arctic legends. In 1864 biologist, Clinton Hart Merriam, described an animal killed at Rendezvous Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada as "buffy whitish with a golden brown muzzle". A century later, Clara Helgason remembers a bear shot by hunters on Kodiak Island during her childhood in 1943 as "a large, off-white bear with hair all over his paws".
In April 2006, Jim Martell, a sport hunter from the United States, shot a grolar near on Banks Island. Martell had paid $50,000, for an official license and a guide to hunt p . . . More