New Arctic species may be created by climate change

sealA researcher at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has said that climate change could lead to greater inter-species breeding.

With long-term climate models predicting the decline of Arctic sea ice, a researcher from the University of Alaska Fairbanks has predicted that the unexpected result could be that animals in the far north mate with each other for survival, reports Siku News.

Marine biologist Brendan Kelly, from the UAF’s International Arctic Research Center, claimed that the existence of sea ice has resulted in the isolation of numerous species over the past 10,000 years. This separation led to the creation of polar bears, ringed seals, walruses and even a recently identified ‘grolar’ bear.

The reduction of ice boundaries created by global warming, claims Kelly, will see these distant cousins intermingle once again, in a resulting biological stew that will reshape Arctic life.

“In 100 years, the species (in the Arctic) will be different than the species today,” Kelly said. “Is that good; is that bad? It’s different, for sure,” he added, claiming, that despite a trend by scientist to attribute all changes to global warming, he believes his theory is sound. Kelly also claimed that within an estimated 28 different Arctic species, interbreeding was already taking place.

Among newly created hybrids discovered in the past decade have been seal blends, a whale that appears to be a mix of a beluga and narwhale, and at least two confirmed girizzly-polar bear breeds.

“This is probably going on more than we think. We just don’t see it,” Kelly said. “This really kind of pushes our definition of species. It kind of shows our dirty underwear as biologists.”

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