Polar Bears Share Irish Ancestry [Discovery]

James Johnson - Author

Jun. 16 2013, Updated 12:00 a.m. ET

A recent DNA study has found that Polar Bears are Irish. The study found that the maternal DNA of all Polar Bears alive today share common traits of the now extinct Irish brown bear.

Based on research findings the two specifies likely bred during the last Ice Age when glacial sheets spread across southern Ireland. Researchers believe one hybrid cub eventually turned into the matriarch for the group and spread the hybrid’s DNA amongst the polar bear population.

The lead researcher for the group told the BBC

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“It’s amazing to think that Irish brown bears are the ancestors of the modern maternal polar bear lineage,” the lead researcher while adding, “As the hybridization between the two species occurred at a time when their home ranges overlapped, most likely during environmental stress, this has implications for polar bears in today’s climate.”

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