UCLA's Robert Wayne and his colleagues report a phylogenetic analysis of the Falklands wolf. The wolf, according to Scientific American, intrigued Charles Darwin during his visit there in the 1830 as it was the "only endemic land-dwelling mammal and looked little like other canids on the mainland." Wayne and his co-authors looked into this now-extinct wolf's nuclear and mtDNA sequence data to find that its closest living relative is the South American maned wolf. "Molecular dating analyses suggest that the Falklands wolf and several extant South American canid lineages likely evolved in North America, prior to the Great American Interchange," say the authors in the abstract of their Current Biology paper. "The Falklands wolf was the sole representative of a distinct South American canid lineage that survived the end-Pleistocene extinctions on an island refuge."
Searching for the Source of the Falkland Wolf
Nov 17, 2009