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A new species is evolving right before our eyes — an ultra-successful mix of wolves, coyotes and dogs

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A new species combining wolves, coyotes and dogs is evolving before scientists’ eyes in the eastern United States.

Wolves faced with a diminishing number of potential mates are lowering their standards and mating with other, similar species, reported The Economist.

The interbreeding began up to 200 years ago, as European settlers pushed into southern Ontario and cleared the animal’s habitat for farming and killed a large number of the wolves that lived there.

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That also allowed coyotes to spread from the prairies, and the white farmers brought dogs into the region.

Over time, wolves began mating with their new, genetically similar neighbors.

The resulting offspring — which has been called the eastern coyote or, to some, the “coywolf” — now number in the millions, according to researchers at North Carolina State University.

Interspecies-bred animals are typically less vigorous than their parents, The Economist reported — if the offspring survive at all.

That’s not the case at all with the wolf-coyote-dog hybrid, which has developed into a sum greater than the whole of its parts.

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At about 55 pounds, the hybrid animal is about twice as heavy as a standard coyote, and its large jaws, faster legs and muscular body allow it to take down small deer and even hunt moose in packs, and the animal is skilled at hunting in both open terrain and dense woodland.

An analysis of 437 hybrid animals found that coyote DNA dominates its genetic makeup, with about one-tenth of its DNA from dogs, usually larger dogs such as Doberman pinschers and German shepherds, and a quarter from wolves.

The animal’s cry starts out as a deep-pitched wolf howl that morphs into higher-pitched yipping — like a coyote.

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Its dog DNA may carry an additional advantage.

Some scientists think the hybrid animal is able to adapt to city life — which neither coyotes or wolves have managed to do on their own — because its dog ancestry allows it to tolerate people and noise.

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The coywolves have spread into some of the nation’s largest cities — including New York, Boston and Washington — using railway corridors.

The interbreeding allows the animal to diversify its diet and eat discarded food, along with rodents and smaller mammals — including cats, which coywolves eat skull and all — and they have evolved to become nocturnal to avoid humans.

The animals are also smart enough to learn to look both ways before crossing roads.

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Not all researchers agree the animal is a distinct species, arguing that one species does not interbreed with another — although the hybrid’s existence raises the question of whether wolves and coyotes are distinct species in the first place.

But scientists who have studied the animal say the mixing of genes has been much faster, extensive and transformational than anyone had noticed until fairly recently.

“(This) amazing contemporary evolution story (is) happening right underneath our nose,” said Roland Kays, a researcher at North Carolina State.

Watch this report on coywolves posted online by THIRTEEN:

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2020 Election

Trump officials could face criminal charges for USPS sabotage — and the president may not be able to pardon them

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Members of the Trump administration could face legal jeopardy over efforts to sabotage U.S. Postal Service operations to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

"Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) made a criminal referral to the New Jersey Attorney General on Friday night, asking him to impanel a grand jury to look at possible breach of state election laws by President Trump, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and others for 'their accelerating arson of the post office,' he said. Alarming headlines have emerged in recent days as many states prepare to facilitate widespread mail balloting due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump openly admitted he was withholding federal aid from the postal service to prevent mail-in voting, and USPS has notified 46 states and D.C. that it will struggle to deliver some mail ballots on time," The Daily Beast reported Friday.

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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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