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Polar Bears, Inuits, Evolution and Fst

1150 words

The Daily Stormer published an article today that claimed that “Polar bears are miscegenating with grizzly bears“. When polar bears and grizzly bears mate, they produce a “pizzly bear“. Due to this, the polar bear population is shrinking and the grizzly bear population is growing.

Scientists say this doesn’t look good for the polar bears; though these hybridizations are not due to ‘climate change’, as is suggested. Using a computer model, the researchers generated a prediction of the Earth’s climate from 2071 to 2100. The model analyzed how different species of birds, mammals and amphibians would need to migrate to find new territory. Birds had the highest overlap with 11.6 percent, attributed to their range from flying. Mammals and amphibians were 4.4 and 3.6 percent likely to encounter a hybridization event. Overall, about 6.4 percent of all species are expected to come into contact to even have the chance to hybridize with other compatible species. Meaning, the polar bear is not in danger of ‘dying out’ due to ‘miscegenation’.

What is missed in the article mentioned at the beginning is that polar bears and grizzly bears are even able to produce offspring at all. This is due to the two splitting around 350 kya to 6 million years ago. This article then says something vaguely familiar:

After beginning to branch off from brown bears, the polar bear’s ancestors under went a series of evolutionary changes in order to survive in the Arctic. The bears adapted to a life of hunting seals and surviving extreme cold. One of the most remarkable adaptations was the ability to thrive on a fat-rich diet withoutapparent heart damage.  (sounds like the Inuit or other Eskimo tribes; emphasis theirs)

‘The bears’ could be switched to ‘the Eskimoes’ or ‘The Inuit’and make complete sense. The Inuit also live off a high-fat diet. The higher n-3 gives immunity and boosts in health to a slew of diseases as well.

The Inuit and their ancestors evolved special genetic mutations that allowed them to partly counteract the effect of a diet high in fat. Nearly 100 percent of the Inuit have these genes, while 2 percent of Europeans and 15 percent of Han Chinese do, which means that they synthesize n-3 differently than the Inuit. Over time eating a diet high in fats, the Inuit evolved these genetic adaptions to better adapt to their environment. The genes they have also lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and fasted insulin levels, which presumably has an effect on cardiovascular disease and diabetes. This used to be the case, but “exposure to a more Western lifestyle” has made Diabetes Mellitus in the Inuits comparable to that of the general population. Since growth is reliant on a person’s whole fatty acid profile, the Inuits are, as a result of these mutations, 1 inch shorter than they should be. The same mutations causing shorter height in the Inuit have also been found in Europeans. Researchers have found many genes responsible for height, but this was “one of the strongest effects ever found by geneticists”.

These genetic mutations are around 20,000 years old and originate with their Siberian ancestors. They think that the adaptation came about in the last Ice Age, but the selection is far stronger in the Inuit, due to them being one of the furthest populations away from the equator.The researchers have also found that the Inuits have another common mutation in their population that is involved in the differentiation of brown, subcutaneous fat cells and brite fat cells. Brite fat cells burn fat for more heat, showing another adaptation they had from their diet and direct environment. This helped them survive the harsh climate.

A strict Inuit diet shows evolution in action, that populations forced to subsist mostly on one type of food/macronutrient can and will adapt to their environment over time, proving that evolution exists. However, you cannot infer from the Inuits that the effect they gain from this diet will carry over to the general population.

The Science Daily article then goes on to say people have asked themselves whether they “Should be on a Stone Age diet”. My answer to that is a resounding “No” if you think the diet will do anything different from any other diet and weight training. As stated in the SD article, you cannot say that other populations, for instance, evolved to eat a certain way cannot be made as the Inuit have certain genetic mutations that no other populations have, in the frequency they do, for that matter.

The DS article, more interestingly, doesn’t bring up how two different species are interbreeding. Humans have a Fst distance of less than .5. The Fst for polar and grizzly bears is 0.2688. Two differing populations separated anywhere between 350 kya to 6 million years ago, can interbreed, and so can humans. Sewall Wright, the creator of the Fst concept, has said that if this differentiation was noticed in any other species, that they would be noted as distinct subgroups. When it comes to human genetics and science, science chooses to take the “egalitarian route” and deny the existence of race. However, when it comes to polar and grizzly bears, talking about how polar bears are a subspecies of grizzly bears and the polar bears adapted to the cold leading to physical and physiological differences, this is fine. Just like when Rushton proposed Differential-K Theory, which is the application of r/K selection theory to humans, it got shot down, despite E.O. Wilson who co-founded r/K selection theory stating “I think Phil is an honest and capable researcher. The basic reasoning by Rushton is solid evolutionary reasoning; that is, it is logically sound. If he had seen some apparent geographic variation for a non-human species – a species of sparrow or sparrow hawk, for example – no one would have batted an eye. … when it comes to [human] racial differences, especially in the inflamed situation in this country, special safeguards and conventions need to be developed.”  Rushton’s main thesis has also never been refuted. No other explanation can fully explain the variables Rushton describes in Race, Evolution, and Behavior like r/K selction theory does.

Polar bears are not going away, and if they were, it’d just be evolution in action as the point of life is to breed and carry on your lineage (however, fitness is increased for the grizzly bear as he is gaining more habitat, yet decreasing for the polar bear due to a warming planet). The strongest populations get selected for, while the weakest become absorbed/wiped out. Since the planet is warming, as well as the grizzly bears looking for more environment some, not all, are mating with polar bears. This does not mean that polar bears will go extinct due to inbreeding with grizzly bears. Inuits are proof of the existence of evolution with how they adapted to their high-fat diet and cold environment, but you cannot use this information on their diet and say that the benefits from a high fat diet would be the same in other populations.