Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if a grizzly bear and a polar bear had cubs, you’re in luck! Scientists recently discovered a “pizzly bear” hybrid, and they’re popping up more and more frequently.

According to Live Science, “pizzly bears” or “grolers” — who take on attributes from both their polar and grizzly bear parents — have become more common due to climate change. When polar bears travel into regions where grizzly bears live, it can affect the way they mate and who they choose to couple up with.

“Usually hybrids aren’t better suited to their environments than their parents, but there is a possibility that these hybrids might be able to forage for a broader range of food sources,” Larisa DeSantis, a paleontologist and associate professor of biological sciences at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, told Live Science.

First sightings of this magnificent animal began in 2006 in the Canadian Arctic when a man spotted a “pizzly” with the “white fur of a polar bear but the long claws, humped back, shallow face and brown patches of a grizzly.” Since then, the exact number in the wild remains unknown, but the population is growing, according to scientists who study the new hybrid.

“Apex predators help stabilize ecosystems, and looking forward I really hope the Arctic still has a polar bear,” DeSantis said. “But, with that all being said, could the pizzly allow for bears to continue to exist in intermediate regions of the Arctic? Possibly, yes. That’s why we need to continue to study them.”

A pizzly bear stands in the wild.
With so many changes to grizzly and polar bear environments, “pizzlys” could be here to stay.