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Ice-Age claimed Alaskan wolves

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#1    Owlscrying


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Posted 23 June 2007 - 01:16 AM

June 21
To the list of victims such as woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats, a Smithsonian-led team of scientists has added one more: a highly carnivorous form of wolf that lived in Alaska, north of the ice sheets.

Wolves were generally thought to have survived the end-Pleistocene extinction relatively unscathed. But this previously unrecognized type of wolf appears to have vanished without a trace some 12,000 years ago.

The researchers extracted DNA from the fossil wolf bones preserved in permafrost and compared the sequences with those of modern-day wolves in Alaska and throughout the world.

The result implies that the Alaskan wolves died out completely, leaving no modern descendants. After the extinction, the Alaskan habitat was probably recolonized by wolves that survived south of the ice sheet in the continental United States.

The ancient Alaskan wolves differed from modern wolves not only in their genes, but also in their skulls and teeth, which were robust and more adapted for forceful bites and shearing flesh than are those of modern wolves.

Alaskan wolf bones are intermediate between those of potential prey species--mammoth, bison, musk ox and caribou--suggesting that their diet was a mix of these large species.

The cause of Pleistocene extinction (called the "megafaunal" extinction because of the large size of many of its victims) is controversial. It has been variously blamed on human hunting or climate change, or on a combination of factors as the Ice Age waned.


#2    The Lone Wolf

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Posted 23 June 2007 - 01:44 AM

yes it seems like today alot of Wolves are being hunted. its really sad. but luckly some of the natinal parks are trying to save them from the indangerments of humans. and what they have already done

#3    Roj47


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Posted 25 June 2007 - 09:49 AM

If the Wolves became extinct due to their food source becoming extinct (theory), is the ice age the cause of the extinction or the wolves' lack of adaptability?

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#4    Raptor


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Posted 25 June 2007 - 10:02 PM


If the Wolves became extinct due to their food source becoming extinct (theory), is the ice age the cause of the extinction or the wolves' lack of adaptability?

It depends how you look at it, because hypothetically (ignoring the restraints of probability) there's always something which could be done to ensure survival.

If the entire planet became flooded over the next few years and every land dwelling species became extinct; do you blame the flood for drowning the species, or do you blame the species for not developing a set of gills in those few generations through many, many miraculous mutations (keeping in mind that that's so incredibly unlikely to happen, that it would simply never happen in practice); but where do you draw the line?

I'd have to say that every extinction is the result of failure to adapt.

Edited by Raptor X7, 25 June 2007 - 10:06 PM.

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