New Carnivorus Hybrid Discovered! The Coywolf

New Carnivorus Hybrid Discovered! The Coywolf

Photo by: L. David Mech, Bruce W. Christensen

A coywolf is a canid hybrid between a coyote and any of the wolf species; either red wolves, gray wolves or the eastern timber wolves. The first observe and research happened in North America.

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The process of hybridizations between wolves and coyotes is possible because they are closely related species that share a common North American ancestry, despite the fact that the gray wolves are of Eurasian origin. Eastern coyotes are North American canid hybrids native to the eastern provinces of Canada and northeastern US.

 “Hybrid speciation” is indeed possible, and has been seen several times in animals and many times in plants. The same thing happened with the coywolf. In that case two animals begin the process of hybridization, and the hybrid goes through genetic change with natural selection.

It is a change that sorts out the different genes from the two parental species into a new mixed genome. That new genome prevents these hybrids from reproducing with the parental species. It can form an interbreeding unit that would be considered a new species, because its members don’t mate with the two parental species but only with each other.

Researchers think that with the lack of suitable mates, lead wolves start to breed with coyotes and dogs, and their babies become a strong new species that spreads quickly across different types of habitats. The killing of wolves and the destruction of their habitat has forced coyotes and gray wolves into closer proximity with each other and with human-owned dogs, leading to hybridization between all of three canids. When the environment starts to change, “good species” can turn into hybrids.

With 25 kg when adult, the coywolf is double of the coyote size and it has larger bigger muscles and jaws and it is equally adopted at open terrain and hunting in forests.  They’re faster, more muscular, and have bigger jaws, which all gives them the strength to be more capable of taking down larger prey than coyotes.

They inhabit different habitats from their parental species, and that they are genetically different from either parent in possessing a hybrid genome. These coywolves, for example, can take down a deer, while a pack of them can take down something as large as a moose. The genetic research showed that coyote DNA is the most dominant of all, with 25% coming from wolves and 10% coming from dogs (mostly large sized dogs like German Shepherds).

Because the animal has also the dog DNA, it can be seen in urban environments and can get along with people better than either a wolf or coyote. What is also extraordinary about this species isn’t just its existence, but the fact that the change of landscape in United States forced these animals to spread their mating horizons. And what is even more extraordinary that the coywolf has multiplied so rapidly.

Video by: southern ohio trail cam videos

And because it can go nearly anywhere, it is very rapidly expanding the territory. Coywolf attacks on people very rarely. Just like its cousin coyote, coywolves are usually wary of humans and avoid people whenever they can.

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