Hybrid Animals Expected To Develop Due to Climate Change


| LAST UPDATE 11/23/2022

By Veronica Anderson
Polar Bear climate change
Ole Jensen - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Over the last few years, scientists have found various hybrid species to exist due to climate change. Although the reality of a magical centaur may feel wild, cross-breeding animals could soon roam our planet earth. Over a decade ago, research was published in Nature, which named 34 potential hybrid species that could come to fruition in the Arctic. Let's take a closer look.

Researchers have figured out that because ice is quickly melting due to global warming, species that were once isolated are now required to move to new areas to hunt in order to survive. Because they are exploring new terrains, these animals are meeting one another and mating, forming new hybrid species that could eventually eliminate the original species as a whole.

Whale Dolphin Hybrid Species
Tong Yu/China News Service via Getty Images
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For example, the 'Brolar bears' or 'Pizzlies' are a crossover between the brown bear and the polar bear. Due to the rapidly depleting Arctic ice cover, polar bears have been relocating inland in search of food instead of relying on their typical blubber diet. Because of this warmer climate, brown bears, too, are venturing inland for food, and as a result, these two species have overlapped and birthing hybrid cubs. These cubs were first noticed in Canada back in 2006 when Arctic hunters uncovered this unknown animal with a mostly white coat and brown spots, signaling that brolar bears are able to adapt to a changing climate. Cross-species are increased with Arctic species, according to the 2010 study in Nature, because their "number of chromosomes have changed little over time," which could explain the hybrid between the harp seal and the hooded seal.

However, there are plenty of underwater hybrid animals that exist. Over three decades ago, a hunter in West Greenland found a skull belonging to a beluga whale-narwhal hybrid known as the 'Narluga.' Experts confirmed this creature was 54% beluga and 46% narwhal and had "teeth combining qualities of each species, but lacked the narwhal's tusk," which was an "important determinant of narwhal breeding success." Other hybrid species that too have been identified are the 'Harbour-Dall' porpoise, a crossover between the Harbour porpoises and Dall's porpoises, the whale-dolphin hybrid in Hawaii, and the 'Coywolves,' a hybrid between the coyote and eastern wolves, amongst a few more. Stay tuned while this story develops.

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