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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Epigenetics and how they might account for what we now call our Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus/lycaon)

My previous email postings(which have come to an end as this blog commences) have focused heavily on the question of what wolf species inhabited our Eastern woodlands at the initiation of European exploration and colonization circa AD 1500. There are several esteemed teams of Wolf/Coyote researchers who are currently in heavy debate over whether our Eastern Wolf(lupus/lycaon) has always existed in the East or whether our Gray Wolf(Canis lupus) existed sympatrically with lycaon................or whether our Southeastern wolf(c.rufus) is actually one and the same with lycaon or whether lupus and rufus hybridized at some point resulting in lycaon................or whether(ususally agreed upon) that Rufus descended from a Coyote ancestor at some point in the distant past and that is the reason for coyote markers to show up in our Eastern wolves(whether they be lycaon or rufus)..................Confused, I still am and I have made it my business to read as many analyses as there have been published on this subject over the past 5 years(i am pleased to say that a crosssection of these talented scientists have become pen pals of sorts as I have postulated my laymans perspective on all things wolf).  Bottom line is that two of the most revered wolf biologists, John and Mary Theberge have postulated that all of the above theories may have validity because environmental stresses on wolves  might have had lasting impact on their genes(Epigenetic markers) causing our Eastern wolf to be both Western Wolf and Eastern Wolf simultaneously. Pick up a copy of the Theberge's upcoming new book, The Ptarmagin Dilemma for more on this fascinating subject.

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