“Cooler than a Polar Bear’s Toenails”

340-1324517532222Scientists have long cited polar bears as exemplars of evolution. They explain that brown fur would obviously do the bears little good on the snow-bleached Arctic sea ice, and that the animals’ white fur is therefore a textbook example of adaptation by natural selection.  The bears’ presumed speciation has always remained something of an abstract assumption among evolutionists, but recent genetic analyses are now providing concrete details about the split.  In a recent paper in Cell, scientists reported that polar bears and grizzly bears diverged from one another approximately 20,000 generations ago, which means that the two species diverged within the past 400,000 years or so.  That qualifies as the blink of an eye from an evolutionary perspective, and may well prompt scientists to reassess evolution’s syncopated tempo.  To learn more about these developments, check out the links here and here.  Also, if you missed Bob Simon’s recent report on polar bears for 60 Minutes, it’s definitely worth checking out.  And finally, if the title of my post rings familiar, it means you have an ear for good lyrics and that you’re a fan of Outkast’s hit jam from 1996, “ATLiens.”