A new study has found that there are five distinct coat colors in dogs and wolves. Previously scientists believed that there were only four. The mystery of coat colors has been solved. (However, we never know what discoveries the future holds.)
This discovery is the result of the work done by an international team of researchers including scientists from the Institute of Genetics of the University of Bern. The team found that a genetic variant which is responsible for a very light-colored coat in dogs and wolves originated in a now extinct relative of the modern wolf.
According to the research a small piece of DNA from this extinct ancestor is still found in yellow dogs and white artic wolves.
Note: This information may help breeders better determine the potential coat color of future litters. I hope that it eventually helps eliminate the deafness and other ills that are connected to certain colorations in dogs, namely the merle, harlequin, piebald and for some breeds the all-white factors, that cause genetic problems.)
Scientists are constantly trying to understand the mind of the dog vs. the wolf. A recent study at <a href="http://<!– wp:paragraph –> <p>www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210712122206.htm</p> Duke University showed that dogs understand people almost from birth whereas wolf puppies that were raised by people within days of their birth do not.
The wolf puppies were fed, slept in bed with and thoroughly interacted with people to try and socialize them. The dog puppies were left with their mother and littermates. The wolf and dog puppies were tested between 5 and 18 weeks old.
The researchers hid a piece of food in one of two bowls and then pointed to the right one. The dog puppies knew instantly, often on the first try, to follow the clue given by the tester. The wolf puppies never were able to follow the tester’s indication, often pointing to the correct bowl.
When the food was put in a container so that the puppy could not access it, the dog puppies looked to the human tester for help but the wolf puppies did not.
According to the researchers, the ability to understand human gestures is a complex cognitive ability that is rare in the animal kingdom. So, the fact that dogs can do it is special.
Author’s Note: Researchers try to understand the process about how dogs became dogs. There are a number of theories and as more material becomes available the theories change. One theory is that dogs are not descended from wolves, even though they are closely related but a species in and of themselves. There is evidence to support this theory the same as other theories.
According to Thomas Newsome of Deakin University and the University of Sydney in Australia, and co-author Aaron Wirsing, an associate professor at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, the rise of secondary predators such as coyotes, jackals and foxes is in large part due to the limits placed on the areas that wolves and dingoes range. He found this to be true in Australia and Europe as well as the United States.
Coyotes and foxes are very adaptable and can be found in suburban settings as well as more open areas. Their population has increased because their main predator, the wolf and dingo, does not have the ability to range far enough to keep them under control. Wolves need a large area to roam and even though re-location has increased their numbers in some areas, their ability to range is fragmented.
The team plans to study the impact that localization has on the environments where the main predators are the big cats such as jaguars, leopards, lions and tigers.
The Himalayan wolf is on the critically endangered list because they are so rare. Their existence and plight have become publicized by the efforts of an international research team led by Madhu Chetri, a graduate student at the Hedmark University of Applied Sciences in Norway. He has studied the wolf in the largest protected area of Nepal.
The Himalayan wolf looks quite a bit different then its European cousins. They are smaller in size, have a longer muzzle and shorter, stumpy legs. They are also marked differently with white around their throat, chest and belly and the inner parts of their legs. They also have a wooly coat.
A pair of Himalayan wolves in their natural habitat. Credit: Madhu Chetri; CC-BY 4.0
To me they look more like our modern Husky breeds, especially the Malamute and Siberian Husky. Siberian Huskies have been known to have an occasional wooly coat.
The researches feel that the Himalayan wolf is a separate branch of the wolf-dog family tree, making it especially rare.
As is the case with most wolves, the local farmers, ranchers and livestock owners hunted and killed as many wolves as they could, believing that they are a threat to their domestic livestock.
Hopefully, the researchers will be able to save this rare and unusual member of the wolf family.