Coywolves, which are hybrids of coyotes and wolves, have slowly been taking over the eastern parts of the United States and Canada throughout the last century.
As human development has depleted the population of eastern North American wolves, the animals have interbred with coyotes from the west.
It has been estimated that coywolves have existed since around 1919, and they likely first came into the world in Ontario, Canada.
However, these hybrids have continued to move south, as scientists have found feces containing both coyote and wolf DNA as far south as Virginia.
According to scientists, the scientific name for the coywolf is Canis latrans var. The creature is about 55 pounds heavier than a traditional coyote, and it features longer legs, a larger jaw, smaller ears and a bushier tail.
The species contains DNA from eastern and western wolves and western coyotes. Some of the creatures even contain DNA from large dogs.
With all of these different species coming together, the coywolf has access to a fantastic gene pool. This has allowed the species to thrive, and it now has populations in the millions.
While coyotes prefer hunting in open areas, wolves prefer hunting in forests. However, the coywolf can hunt in both areas. Its howls combine the low-pitched roars of a wolf with the high-pitched yips of a coyote.
And with the dog DNA, the coywolf can even adapt to urban areas, as more than 20 coywolves have been spotted in New York City. Others have been found in Washington D.C., Boston and Philadelphia.
Since coywolves are still able to breed with wolves, coyotes and dogs, many experts do not consider them to be a new species. However, their gene pool could eventually be so greatly relocated that the animals might soon only be able to breed with other coywolves.
Whatever happens, it’s clear that an incredible act of evolution is happening right before our own eyes.