A mystery canid shot by a Montana rancher was finally identified using DNA testing.
The animal had wildlife officials pondering what exactly the beast was until DNA results came in. Although it mostly resembled a wolf, there were some features that were very “un-wolfy”, leading people to h
ave some wild speculations about what it was. Thoughts ranged from a direwolf, to dog-wolf hybrids, with some even fueling rumors that it was a dog-human hybrid!
The dead female animal’s canine teeth were too short for wolves and its front paws were a lot smaller, whereas the claws were too long. It had ears that were too big for a wolf as well, according to “experts”, who also stated that the coat was entirely wrong for a wolf. Montana wildlife officials concluded that it was a “young, non-lactating female and a canid, or member of the dog family”.
While the DNA of the animal was being tested, the public was quick to come to their own conclusions, based off the photos they had seen, some of which are as follows:
Dire wolf: Dire wolves were real creatures that have long become extinct (more than 10,000 years ago). They were native to the Americas and much larger than their gray wolf cousins. Thousands of dire wolf skeletons have been found in the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles.
Wolf-dog hybrid: Wolf and dog interbreeding is possible, and they produce viable offspring that can go on to produce more offspring. There had been a hybrid wolf-dog in Montana previously that had gone on a sheep-killing spree. It was eventually caught, according to Ty Smucker, a wolf management specialist for Montana FWP. You can learn more about wolf-dogs here: International Wolf Center
Bigfoot: Because, of course, what else could something large, hairy and unexplained be? Check it out: Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization
Dogman: There’s an entire site dedicated to Dogmen and possible encounters. Check it out: About Dogmen. They’re not making this stuff up on the fly, apparently.