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Submitted by mduque on Fri, 02/23/2018 - 14:45

The genus canis has showed an interesting phenomenon with the discovery of the “coywolf”; a hybrid canid exhibiting mostly Canis lupus and Canis dirus genes but also Canis lupus familiaris genes. Many have gone as far as to calling the coywolf a new species. However, this assumption might be a bit of a stretch. Genetic tests show this is not the first time intermixing takes place. The eastern coyote for example, is also a mix of the three. In my opinion, that is because coyotes, domestic dogs, and wolves are the same species “that would very much prefer not to breed with each other”. The fact that they have continuously mated with one another throughout history and created viable offspring suggests they are indeed the same species. This has resulted in genetic swapping and gene variations amongst the three. The gene differences may result in sexual “preferences” where wolves would rather mate with a wolf, coyotes with coyotes, and so on. Still, preference is not enough to deem them three separate species. “Gene flow continues in all directions, keeping things mixed up, and leading to continual variation over their range, with no discrete boundaries."  Instead of being called closely related species, it would be more accurate to call them subspecies.