The coywolf, also called the eastern coyote, only appeared less than a century ago and now numbers in the millions, The Economist reported. It has become the region’s apex predator.

A study of coywolf DNA found about a quarter to be wolf and a tenth to be dog – mostly large breeds such as Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds. The rest is coyote.

Mixing the wolf and dog DNA brought big benefits, Dr. Roland Kays of North Carolina State University told The Economist.

With larger jaws, more muscle and faster legs, individual coywolves could take down small deer, while a pack could kill a moose. While coyotes disliked hunting in forests, and wolves preferred it, coywolves were good at catching prey in both open terrain and densely wooded areas, Kays said.

By combining wolf and coyote DNA, the coywolf had been able to expand into a vast new territory. So smart is the coywolf that is even looks both ways before crossing the road.

To read the rest of the story and interview of Dr. Roland Kays, click this link: The Economist

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