What is a "canis"? asks blogger Dog Zombie at Scientific American. "The more you dig into wild canines in North America, the more unclear it is where any species lines should be drawn," Dog Zombie says. A paper in Genome Research from earlier this year used SNP genotyping to look at variation at more than 48,000 loci in wolves and related species, and, as Dog Zombie points out, shows that many wolves and coyotes are admixtures of wolf, coyote, and dog. "Canis soup has been used before as an example of the blurriness of some species lines and the inadequacy of many existing definitions of a species, but it also provides some interesting insights into the fluidity of canid morphology and behavioral characteristics," Dog Zombie writes. "How did something as large and wild as a wolf become something as variably sized and tame as a dog? Moreover, how did this change happen (presumably) without a carefully planned breeding program?"
What Kind of Wolf?
Dec 29, 2011