Two species produce viable hybrids even though they diverged 150 mya

Two species from the families Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae, Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, Brandt and Ratzeberg, 1833; functional tetraploid) and American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula, Walbaum 1792, functional diploid) were hybridized. The hybridization was repeated using eggs from three sturgeon and sperm from four paddlefish individuals. Survival in all hybrid family groups ranged from 62% to 74% 30 days after hatching. This was the first successful hybridization between these two species and between members of the family Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae. Flow cytometry and chromosome analysis revealed two ploidy levels in hybrids. The chromosome numbers of the hybrids ranged between 156–184 and 300–310, in “functional” triploids and “functional” pentaploids, respectively. The hybrid origin and the ploidy levels were also confirmed by microsatellite analyses. In hybrids, the size and the number of dorsal and ventral scutes correlated with the ploidy levels as well as with the calculated ratio of the maternal and paternal chromosome sets. An extra haploid cell lineage was found in three hybrid individuals irrespective of the ploidy level, suggesting polyspermy. Although the growth performance showed high variance in hybrids (mean: 1.2 kg, SD: 0.55), many individuals reached a size of approximately 1 kg by the age of one year under intensive rearing conditions.

This is a pretty impressive and unexpected finding…


Very impressive. Some times biology is just so extremely weird. Of the three hypotheses mentioned by Coyne that could explain why a result such as this is possible, the third option initially seemed most plausible to my amateur opinion. Then I realized the three options aren’t mutually exclusive and all three could be contributing causes to different degrees.

How long before the YECs cite this as evidence that the world is only 6000 years old?