New species called Coywolf growing in numbers in North America
A relatively new species of hybrid animal has been evolving in southern Canada and the northeastern U.S., and the population is currently estimated to be in the millions.
Called the coywolf, it has been tested to be about 25 percent wolf, 10 percent dog—mostly the large-breed kind—and the remainder coyote.
While scientists note that interbreeding typically results in a weaker or more vulnerable animal, in this case, they've seen some notable advantages.
Weighing in at around 55 pounds, the coywolf is generally two times larger than a coyote meaning it has a more sizable jaw and muscles to hunt down prey like deer.
It also seems more adaptable to a variety of environments, able to navigate through forests like a wolf, urban centers like a coyote, and human-populated areas like a dog.
As such, the animal has been able to expand its territory from the northeastern U.S. to more southern cities like Boston, D.C., and New York.
Scientists believe the change began 100 to 200 years ago when wolves in southern Ontario, Canada, faced a lack of breeding partners within its own population and thus started to mate with coyotes and dogs.