Related topics: predators

Genomics of Isle Royale wolves reveal impacts of inbreeding

A new paper explores the genetic signatures of a pair of wolves isolated on Isle Royale, a remote national park in Lake Superior. The pair are father-daughter and share the same mother. Such close inbreeding leads to genetic ...

Wolves more prosocial than pack dogs in touchscreen experiment

In a touchscreen-based task that allowed individual animals to provide food to others, wolves behaved more prosocially toward their fellow pack members than did pack dogs. Rachel Dale of the Wolf Science Center in Vienna, ...

Wolves cooperate with humans

Wolves lead, dogs follow—and both cooperate with humans. The statement is a bold one, especially as wolves have received a lot of negative attention in recent years. A recent study conducted by behavioural researchers at ...

Hungry moose more tolerant of wolves' presence: study

Driven by the need for food, moose in western Wyoming are less likely to change their behavior to avoid wolves as winter progresses, according to new research by University of Wyoming scientists.

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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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