Friday, August 6, 2010
Creature Feature: Pizzlies.
If you thought that breeding two species of big cat yesterday was dangerous, how about trying it with bears? Better yet, in the case of pizzlies, nature has already done it for you; no drugs required for this idea!
A pizzly (which SOUNDS like another word for bear urine, but whatever, scientific naming system) is a hybrid between a male polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and a female grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). Pizzlies generally act more like polar bears than grizzlies, stamping like polar bears do ice and sleeping like throw rugs. They have at least some coloration from both species; generally speaking, they have light bodies with darker paws. It looks almost like a Siamese (or Himalayan) cat in bear form:
Numerous hunters have found strange-looking bears in Alaska and Canada, but the pizzly was the first confirmed wild hybrid. DNA testing proved its mixed parentage in 2006. Had it been a pure grizzly, hunter Jim Martell would have been arrested. (For some reason, he had a license to kill the FAR more endangered polar bear, but that's another issue entirely.)
If only they would have stuck with "prizzly." "Grolar bear" indicates that the specimen had a grizzly father and polar bear mother, but "pizzly" is the real name for polar x grizzly (with the father's name coming first). "Nanulak," a portmanteau of Inuit words for the two bears, is a fine replacement. "Pizzly" deserves to be pissed on; science, HOW did you manage to make a hybrid of two of the most badass bears in the world sound so lame?