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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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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Trent University Wolf experts, Dr. Linda Rutledge and Dr. Bradley White have come forth with the most detailed research yet revealing that the Eastern Wolves(C lycaon) found in Algonquin Provincial Park in Eastern Canada are in fact a distinct species of wolf and not simply a subspecies of the Gray Wolf..............Rutledge, Gray and their Trent biologist/geneticist colleagues have long put forth their hypothesis that the Eastern Wolf is a distinct species, once found from Northeastern Canada down through the eastern half of the USA............The canis soup conundrum, what I call the wolf/coyote "vegetable soup" broth that has come to exist in the eastern half of north America over the past 85 years is truly an evolutionary adaptation playing out in front of our eyes with conservation implications for both the USA and Canada in the years to come.............Since Gray and Eastern Wolves "touched" in eastern North America for millenia, time for the USA to re-wild both species into New England(alongside the Eastern Coyote) ,,,,,,,,,,,,,Re-Kick Start and revitalize the "Red Wolf(Eastern Wolf and Red Wolf one of the same) program in the Carolina's and beyond................The habitat is there up and down the Appalachian spine,,,,,,,,,,,Time to step on the gas in this regard..................Read Linda's full paper by clicking on the link at the bottom of the article below


Trent Researchers use Genomics to Clarify Evolutionary Origins of Wolves and Coyotes

Research by Trent alumna and post-doctoral fellow Dr. Linda Rutledge featured in prestigious journal

Trent Researchers use Genomics to Clarify Evolutionary Origins of Wolves and Coyotes
Trent Researchers use Genomics to Clarify Evolutionary Origins of Wolves and Coyotes
The work of a Trent University alumna and post-doctoral fellow will shed new light on the debate over wolf conservation in eastern North America.

Dr. Linda Rutledge's paper, RAD sequencing and genomic simulations resolve hybrid origins within North American Canis, published this month in the Royal Society journal Biology Letterssummarizes a study which uses more than 127,000 genetic markers, in combination with genomic simulations, to show support for the eastern wolf from Algonquin Provincial Park as a distinct species.

The work also further clarifies the hybrid ancestry of Eastern North America’s gray wolves and coyotes. Dr. Brad White, a biology professor at Trent who first proposed the Algonquin wolf as a distinct species, is also an author on the paper.

Carnivore conservation is important for maintaining healthy ecosystems, explains Dr. Rutledge. Along with climate change, the disappearance of top predators has been flagged as one of the most significant threats to natural systems. In North America, however, disagreement over the evolutionary origins of eastern wolves presents a significant barrier to carnivore conservation in Canada.

Rutledge's new findings may help to change that.

“The work is particularly novel because the results represent the highest genomic coverage to date for wildCanis species, and we avoided potential bias in the data because we didn’t rely on the domestic dog genome to quantify the variation. The work supports the eastern wolf as a valid species, and that’s a critical part of assessment by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC),” she explains.
The Royal Society journal Biology Letters publishes short, highly innovative, cutting-edge research articles and opinion pieces across the biological sciences.

To read Dr. Rutledge's paper, visit
Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2015.


RAD sequencing and genomic simulations resolve hybrid origins within North American Canis

Top predators are disappearing worldwide, significantly changing ecosystems that depend on top-down regulation. Conflict with humans remains the primary roadblock for large carnivore conservation, but for the eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), disagreement over its evolutionary origins presents a significant barrier to conservation in Canada and has impeded protection for grey wolves (Canis lupus) in the USA. Here, we use 127 235 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified from restriction-site associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq) of wolves and coyotes, in combination with genomic simulations, to test hypotheses of hybrid origins of Canis types in eastern North America.

 A principal components analysis revealed no evidence to support eastern wolves, or any other Canis type, as the product of grey wolf × western coyote hybridization. In contrast, simulations that included eastern wolves as a distinct taxon clarified the hybrid origins of Great Lakes-boreal wolves and eastern coyotes. Our results support the eastern wolf as a distinct genomic cluster in North America and help resolve hybrid origins of Great Lakes wolves and eastern coyotes. The data provide timely information that will shed new light on the debate over wolf conservation in eastern North America.

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