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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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California mayor resigns after saying no ‘good person of color’ has ever been killed by police

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A southern California mayor resigned after making a racist statement about black Americans killed by police officers.

Temecula Mayor James Stewart apologized and tried to explain his statement in an email, in which he claimed he didn't “believe there’s ever been a good person of color killed by a police officer” locally, reported The Press-Enterprise.

“Unfortunately I did not take the time to proofread what was recorded," Stewart told the newspaper. "I absolutely did not say that. What I said is, and I don’t believe there has ever been a person of color murdered by police, on context to Temecula or Riverside County. I absolutely did not say ‘good.’ I have no idea how that popped up.”

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‘No president is a dictator’: John Kelly backs Mattis’s take on Trump — and says we need leaders with ‘ethics’

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President Donald Trump's former chief of staff on Friday spoke out in defense of former Trump Secretary of Defense James Mattis's scathing assessment of President Donald Trump.

In an interview with former Trump White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Kelly said that "I agree" with what Mattis said about how dangerous it is for the president to propose using the American military against American citizens who are protesting against police brutality.

"The idea you would unleash American active duty folks unless it's an extreme situation... the troops hate it," Kelly said. "They don't see it as their jobs. They don't want to be used in that way."

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WATCH: Bat-wielding 75-year-old white woman tries to block peaceful protesters from marching

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In an incident that was caught on video this Wednesday, an elderly woman in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, brandished a bat as she confronted people protesting the death of George Floyd.

Speaking to WOODTV, the woman said she was just simply defending her community.

“I just simply stated, you know, ‘You’re not going to burn down East,'” 75-year-old Karla Anderson said.

The video shows protesters marching down the street when Anderson, hoisting the bat in a confrontational manner. Some protesters yell, "Leave her alone," but one man on the bike attempted to take the bat away from her anyway. Others stepped in to try to diffuse the situation.

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