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Rare Wolf or Common Coyote? It Shouldn't Matter, But It Does

posted Nov 21, 2016, 11:29 AM by chloe owens   [ updated Nov 21, 2016, 11:30 AM ]

8/3/16, by Charlie Northcott, Smithsonian

Rare Wolf or Common Coyote?  It Shouldn’t Matter, But It Does

…Also known as eastern wolves, Algonquin wolves are considered almost mythical by many Canadians.  According to an Iroquois legend, these elusive creatures rescued mankind from an apocalyptic flood.  Today they are rarely seen, preferring to stay hidden as they stalk moose and deer in their vast wooded territory. They are distinctive in appearance, with rusty brown fur and short, lean bodies…In many ways, they look identical to coyotes. That “resemblance” has often proved deadly…scientists have known since the 19th century that nature is too complex to be neatly packaged into distinct species. To the dismay of taxonomists, evolution is a fluid, untidy process that naturally involves genetic mixing and inter-species breeding.