Here is my final (I hope) comments on the claims made in that paper, suggesting why we might want to take them with a grain of salt.
These are the points regarding this paper that I think deserve a critical look. In this post, I’ll elaborate on Claims #3 and #4. [I’ve added one more to the original three listed].
Claim #1 Polar bears and brown bears (aka grizzlies) arose 4-5 million years old. [I countered with fossil evidence]
Claim #2 Hybridization in both directions occurred repeatedly throughout the evolutionary history of polar bears and brown bears. [I countered with full details on known hybrids]
Claim #3 Svalbard may have been an important refugium for polar bears during warm interglacial periods – and related sea ice issues related to the origin of polar bears as a species.
Claim #4 Polar bear population numbers (population size estimates) over the last one million years track changes in climate (warmer/colder periods).
Claim #3 Svalbard may have been an important refugium for polar bears during warm interglacial periods (and related sea ice issues related to the origin of polar bears as a species) [Which I’ll counter with evidence on paleo sea ice]