Thursday, February 18, 2010

More on Coyotes, er, uh 'Coywolves'

In response to my post on coyotes, a friend sent this link:

It is a story that ran in the Boston newspapers just the other day, and it cites research that has firmly indicated that most of the coyote population in New England are the descendants of animals that slowly spread across Canada...and inter-bred with wolves as they did.

Coyote DNA proves beyond any doubt that wolf genes are present. And, it goes on to say that this accounts for the rapid up-sizing of coyotes in the northeast. I had erroneously supposed that it was a rapid adaptation taking place. Biologists believe that without the hybridization this would never have been able to happen as rapidly as it has.

It is not rare to find coyotes in the northeast that are over 70 lbs. This is absolutely GIGANTIC, when compared to their western relatives, who average in the 25 to 40 lb. range.

The scientists go on to state that these coyotes are actually a new hybrid species that is so different from pure western coyotes that they should be called, "coywolves". They also exhibit a distinct color shift, towards russet shades in their coats.

Just thought you might find this as interesting as I did.

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