Thank genomics for discovering that hybrid animals are not “misfits.” Recently, DNA from a whale skull showed that it was “the first-ever confirmed narluga, the son of a beluga dad and a narwhal mom.” There is reason to believe that there are more of them out there and that they may be fertile:
In the 20th century, animals such as mules and ligers that had parents of different species were considered biological flukes, but genetic sequencing is beginning to unravel the critical role of hybridization in evolution.
Ashley Yeager, “Hybrid Animals Are Not Nature’s Misfits” at The Scientist (May 1, 2021)
Yeager points out in the article that Darwinian Ernst Mayr cast doubt on hybridization as an important source of change so for decades few believed it could be. However,
As scientists began to look for other examples of hybridization in the wild, both past and present, they were not disappointed. Genetic analyses have revealed crosses between coyotes and gray wolves, polar bears and brown bears, chimpanzees and bonobos, finches in the Galapagos Islands, fish called sculpin, and even modern humans and Neanderthals…
Obviously not all cases of hybridization involved the equal swapping of genes to form a completely new creature, as appeared to often happen with the cichlids, but in just the last few years, “the consensus has been that hybridization in animals in particular is hugely widespread and much more common than was appreciated,” Schumer says. The question in the field now, she says, is if this gene swapping is common, “what is it doing?”Ashley Yeager, “Hybrid Animals Are Not Nature’s Misfits” at The Scientist (May 1, 2021)
But isn’t hybridization cutting into a lot of the things Darwinism supposedly did?