New clues to the Falklands wolf mystery

Ever since the Falklands wolf was described by Darwin himself, the origin of this now-extinct canid found only on the Falkland Islands far off the east coast of Argentina has remained a mystery. Now, researchers reporting ...

Black wolves: The first genetically modified predators?

Emergence of black-colored wolves is the direct result of humans raising dogs as pets and beasts of burden, according to new research by a University of Calgary biologist published today by the prestigious academic journal ...

Dog coat patterns have ancient origin

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, but variations in color patterns provide some of their most distinctive characteristics. A newly released study sheds light on a subset of these patterns, unexpectedly leading to new questions ...

Wolves scare deer and reduce auto collisions 24%, study says

Ecologist Rolf Peterson remembers driving remote stretches of road in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and seeing areas strewn with deer carcasses. But that changed after gray wolves arrived in the region from Canada and Minnesota.

Shift in diet allowed gray wolves to survive ice-age extinction

Gray wolves are among the largest predators to have survived the extinction at the end of the last ice age around11,700 years ago. Today, they can be found roaming Yukon's boreal forest and tundra, with caribou and moose ...

What wolves' teeth reveal about their lives

UCLA evolutionary biologist Blaire Van Valkenburgh has spent more than three decades studying the skulls of many species of large carnivores—including wolves, lions and tigers— that lived from 50,000 years ago to the ...

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Gray Wolf

The grey wolf or gray wolf (Canis lupus), also known as the timber wolf or simply wolf, is the largest wild member of the Canidae family. It is an ice age survivor originating during the Late Pleistocene around 300,000 years ago. DNA sequencing and genetic drift studies reaffirm that the gray wolf shares a common ancestry with the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). Although certain aspects of this conclusion have been questioned, including recently, the main body of evidence confirms it. A number of other gray wolf subspecies have been identified, though the actual number of subspecies is still open to discussion. Gray wolves are typically apex predators in the ecosystems they occupy. Though not as adaptable as more generalist canid species, wolves have thrived in temperate forests, deserts, mountains, tundra, taiga, grasslands, and even urban areas.

Though once abundant over much of Eurasia and North America, the gray wolf inhabits a very small portion of its former range because of widespread destruction of its territory, human encroachment of its habitat, and the resulting human-wolf encounters that sparked broad extirpation. Even so, the gray wolf is regarded as being of least concern for extinction according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, when the entire gray wolf population is considered as a whole. Today, wolves are protected in some areas, hunted for sport in others, or may be subject to extermination as perceived threats to livestock and pets.

In areas where human cultures and wolves are sympatric, wolves frequently feature in the folklore and mythology of those cultures, both positively and negatively.

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