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Biologists have discovered that wild wolves are a different species from gray wolves



Biologists have discovered that wild wolves are a different species from gray wolves

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5,000 years ago, two gray wolves (bottom left) faced a terrifying pack of wolves on a bison carcass in southwestern North America.Image Credit: The Art of Mauricio Anton

An international team of scientists reported in the magazine today that this iconic, prehistoric wild wolf passed through Los Angeles and other parts of the Americas 11 thousand years ago. It is a completely different species from the smaller gray wolf. nature.

This research has uncovered the mystery that biologists have been thinking about for more than 100 years. This research was conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, University of Durham in the UK, University of Adelaide in Australia and Ludwig Maxi in Germany. Leaded by colleagues from Millian University.

Robert Wayne, a distinguished professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said: “The terrible terrible wolf is a legendary symbol of the tar pits of Los Angeles and La Brea. It has a place among many unique large species that became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene.” Ecology And co-author of evolutionary biology research. The Pleistocene, commonly known as the “Ice Age”, ended about 11,700 years ago.

More than 4,000 terrifying wolves were dug up from La Brea Tar Pit, but scientists know little about their evolution or the reasons for their eventual disappearance. Gray wolves were also found in fossil-rich mines, and they are still alive today.

Co-lead author Angela said: “Dead wolves have always been an iconic representative of the last ice age in the Americas, but our understanding of their evolutionary history is limited to what we can see from the size and shape of their bones.” Perry of Durham University.

These bones are now showing more. The researchers used advanced molecular methods to analyze five terrifying wolf genomes in fossil bones from 13,000 to 50,000 years ago, which allowed the researchers to reconstruct the evolutionary history of extinct carnivores for the first time.

It is worth noting that they found no evidence of gene flow between terrible wolves and timber wolves or coyotes. No gene transfer indicates that the wolf evolved in isolation from the ice age ancestors of other species.

Alice Mouton, co-lead author of the postdoctoral research at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), said: “We found that this terrible wolf is not closely related to the gray wolf. In addition, we have shown that this terrible wolf Wolves have never crossed with gray wolves.” An ecology and evolutionary biologist in Wayne’s laboratory.

The ancestors of the gray wolf and the much smaller coyote evolved in Eurasia, and it is thought that it emigrated to North America less than 1.37 million years ago (a relatively new evolutionary period). On the other hand, based on genetic differences with other species, this terrifying wolf is now believed to have originated in the Americas.

“When we first started this research, we thought that terrible wolves were only enhanced gray wolves, so we were surprised to find that they were genetically so different that they were probably unable to mate.” Author Laurent Frantz, Professor of Ludwig Maximilian University and Queen Mary University of England. “This must mean that wolves have been quarantined in North America for a long time so that they have such unique genes.”

Co-lead author, Kiren Mitchell of the University of Adelaide, said: “Wolves are sometimes portrayed as mythical animals-giant wolves hunting for food in bleak frozen landscapes-but the facts become more interesting.”

In terms of reproduction, this terrible wolf is a “lone wolf”

When the geographic ranges of wolf lineages overlap, their hybridization is common. For example, modern gray wolves and coyotes often crossbreed in North America. However, the researchers used a dataset that included Pleistocene terrible wolves, 22 modern North American gray wolves and coyotes, and three ancient dogs, and found that this terrible wolf did not mate with any other wolves—probably because it was genetically Can’t reproduce with those species.

“Although there was a wide range of overlap during the Late Pleistocene, our findings have no evidence that there is a gene flow between gray wolves and gray wolves or coyotes, which suggests that the common ancestor of gray wolves and coyotes may be from the lineage of gray wolves. Geographic regions with separate members evolved,” Wayne said. “This result is consistent with the hypothesis that fake wolves originated in the Americas.”

Another hypothesis about this terrible wolf-untested in this study-is related to its extinction. It is generally believed that due to its size (larger than gray wolves and coyotes), this wild wolf is better at hunting large prey and cannot survive the extinction of conventional food. Now, Mouton, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Liege in Belgium, says the lack of hybridization may have accelerated its demise.

She said: “Maybe this terrible wolf can’t crossbreed, and it doesn’t provide the necessary new features that might make them survive.”

Uncover the mystery of the terrible wolf DNA

Although the evil wolves sequenced in this study did not have the lineage of gray wolves, coyotes or their nearest North American ancestors, the DNA of the evil wolves was compared with the DNA of gray wolves, coyotes, and various other wolf-like species. Common but distant evolutionary relationship.

Mouton said: “The ancestors of the terrible wolf probably had a disagreement with the ancestors of the gray wolf 5 million years ago. It is surprising to find that this disagreement happened so early.” “This discovery highlights this. How special and unique the terrible wolf is.”

Based on their genome analysis, the researchers also concluded that there are three families that originated from a common ancestor: wolves, African jack wolves, and a group that includes all other existing wolf-like species (including gray wolves).

Wayne pointed out that gray wolves, which now mainly live in the wilderness and remote areas of North America, are more closely related to African wild dogs and Ethiopian wolves than to wolves.

This study is the first ever to report whole genome data on wolves.

Genome analysis is jointly conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, Durham University, Oxford University, University of Adelaide, Ludwig Maximilian University and Queen Mary University. The main research is nuclear genome and mitochondrial genome. It is very rich in ancient ruins.

Mouton said: “Reducing the cost of sequencing analysis and the latest molecular biology methods for highly degradable materials allow us to recover DNA from fossils.” “Ancient DNA genome analysis is an incredible tool that can be more Get a good understanding of the evolutionary history of ancient and extinct species.”


The wolf has been caring for at least 1.3 million years


More information:
The terrible wolf is the last dog breed in the ancient new world, nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-03082-x, www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-03082-x

Provided by the University of California, Los Angeles



CitationDiscovered by biologists (January 13, 2021): The wild wolf is a different species from the gray wolf. From https://phys.org/news/2021-01-dire-wolf-distinct- on January 14, 2021 gray.html retrieved in species-

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