Congratulations, climate change deniers: You've won. In your quest to convince everyone that pollution and global warming doesn't exist you've hurt the only beings that can't hurt you back: The Coke-loving polar bears. You've hurt them right in their soft fuzzy dicks.
Unlike humans, polar bears have straight-up bones in their dicks. While scientists don't exactly know whether these bones are used for mating (they might stimulate the female, so that's a very important use), they do know that environmental pollutants are putting these bones at extreme risk for fracture by softening them.
From New Scientist:
Christian Sonne at Aarhus University, Denmark, and colleagues had previously shown that polar bears with high levels of pollutants called organohalogens in their bodies had both smaller testes and a smaller penis bone.
Sonne and his team have now shown that a particular class of organohalogens, the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), is associated with a less dense baculum. This could prevent successful mating, the team suggest.
PCBs were used industrially for several decades from the late 1920s onwards. They had hundreds of applications, including in production of paints and rubber products. Then evidence emerged that they can harm health and cause cancer, and were banned by a UN treaty signed in 2001. But they are slow to break down, so can accumulate in the environment.
Combined with climate change, which is making it more difficult for these bears to forage for food and forcing them to conform to America's unrealistic beauty standards by becoming thinner, the pollutants are circulating more heavily in the bears' bloodstream and making the bears more vulnerable to the chemical's effects. It's possible that this is the reason that so many polar bears have been dying in the past several decades. So if you're still worried about those global warming scare photos of polar bears drifting sadly on melting icebergs, don't be! They'll all probably be dead by the time that happens.
Image via Shutterstock