I’m a big fan of NPR (National Public Radio). While I’m running errands I listen to NPR in the car, and I always feel a bit smarter and better informed afterwards. I’m probably a genius by now, but that’s a conservative guess.
Yesterday I listened to a TED Talk program on NPR about how people are losing their ability to listen. We’re so consumed with our electronics and so bombarded by constant information that we’ve begun to tune out real conversation. The speaker, Julian Treasure, offered five exercises to help improve listening skills. I’ve shared it in case you’re curious.
I also listened to a segment about bears on the RadioLab program, the most fascinating of which was a piece on the phenomenon of polar bear/grizzly bear hybrids. A hunter in Alaska related his tale of tracking a polar bear who uncharacteristically, for his species, was breaking into cabins. The hunter shot the bear, but he knew it wasn’t a standard, run-of-the-mill polar bear. Its coloring was odd and its fur patterning didn’t fit a standard polar bear.
The bear was studied by geneticists and confirmed to be a hybrid of two different bear species. Not only that. It was a second generation offspring–one of its parents had also been a hybrid. So unlike other animal kingdom hybrids, the offspring are capable of reproducing.
Further testing on other hybrid bears indicated that all of the hybrids are descended from just one female polar bear who had produced three litters with two different male grizzlies. This is mind-blowing. The researchers pondered on why this particular female had been attracted to male grizzlies.
I’d like to offer my theory. I think those male grizzlies were just better listeners.
And that’s how you connect the dots.
Again, if you’re interested in the bear episodes here’s the link to the program. The one about the hybrids is the last on the link.