from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Man’s best friend, the dog, has a mysterious and complex relationship with people. Ancient humans presumably domesticated wolves or some other closely related species a long time ago — perhaps multiple times on different continents. The story of dogs and wolves and people is far from over, getting ever more interesting as we learn more about ancient dog specimens and create more genetically-engineered dogs.
- IVF (aka in vitro fertilization) has been successful for a bunch of different animals, but only relatively recently with canine puppies. Test tube puppies can now be breed to become healthy adult dogs, and the techniques to do doggie IVF could also help bring back distantly-related wolf populations. [url]
- Dogs and wolves can interbreed, suggesting that they are very closely related, if not the same, species. Defining what a species is — is tricky, and the existence of the coywolf (a coyote, dog, wolf hybrid) makes the pedigree of dogs/wolves/coyotes a bit more complicated than one might have guessed. [url]
- Wolves were re-introduced into Yellowstone National Park in the mid-1990s (after a decades-long absence), and a small population of wolves may have drastically changed the ecosystem and perhaps even the geography of the area. Subsequent studies of the wolves paint a more complex picture of this classic example of “trophic cascade” — and the role of wolves may not be so directly correlated to thriving beaver populations or the feeding behavior of elk. [url]
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