The Resilient Polar Bear?


An interesting tidbit on the evolution of the polar bear, thanks to advances in DNA research:

The stories revealed by ancient DNA are not all dismal. Genetic study of polar bear fossils predicts a better fate for the endangered species.

Before 2007, it was thought that polar bears evolved from the brown bear fairly recently in the planet’s history. But three years ago, a DNA study of polar bear fossils showed that the polar bear originated nearly 130,000 years ago. That means the species survived the last interglacial period of global warming.

The discovery gives MacPhee hope about the polar bear’s fate in the coming decades. “It’s possible they will survive, even though they will suffer,” he said.


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