Nature cites UB research on when the polar bear emerged

Published May 9, 2014

An article in Nature reports a recent analysis of the genomes of polar bears and brown bears shows the two species diverged between 479,000 and 343,000 years ago, and notes that research by Charlotte Lindqvist, an evolutionary biologist from UB, had previously estimated that polar bears emerged 4 million to 5 million years ago. “Our model was probably too simple,” she said, but added that she was skeptical that the split occurred as recently as the new study indicated. “This estimate may be based on better models, but it is still highly impacted by assumptions. I don’t think we’re there yet.” Articles on the research also appeared in Science, New Scientist and NPR.

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