Talk:Eastern wolf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Dogs (Rated B-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Dogs, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles related to Canidae and Dogs on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Mammals (Rated B-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Mammals, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of mammal-related subjects on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

The Little that MSW says[edit]

I agree that for obvious practical purposes, there is no real alternative for the Taxobox than the latest taxon from MSW. I think we all agree by now that the lead shoud just agree with the taxobox, and the complications left to the body of the article. So before we can provisionally run with MSW3 for the puroses of the lead, we should review what they do and do not say, to make sure we all agree and there is or is not any disagreement about what it means.

This website, it says that it is a subspecies of Canis lupus, and then name is lycaon. So that's what the taxobox and the lead sentence will say, agreed. Agreed?

That's about all this pages says, but tell me please if anyone disagrees with my interpetation of it:

The animal called "canadensis" first by de Blainville in 1843 was C.l.lycaon, as was the animal Comeau called "ungravensis" in 1940. Any historical document referring to either of these two former taxa are to be synonyms for lycaon.

It gives the credit for the first guy to call this animal "C.l.lyaon" to a man named Schreber back in 1775.

That's all. That's all MSW3 has to say about this on this particular page. Next, we look for commentary on the main Canis lupus page. But please everyone check that I'm reading this page correctly.Chrisrus (talk) 02:34, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

MSW3 Comments at Canis Lupus page[edit]

I wanted to be sure I got everything relevent to this animal, so I took a big bite. I think some of this runs into the question of rufus and might not apply to lycaon. Here it is, I quote:

The validity of rufus as a full species was questioned by Clutton-Brock et al. (1976), and Lawrence and Bossert (1967, 1975), due to the existence of natural hybrids with lupus and latrans. Natural hybridization may be a consequence of habitat disruption by man (Paradiso and Nowak, 1972, 2002). All specimens examined by Wayne and Jenks (1991) had either a lupus or latrans mtDNA genotype and there appears to be a growing consensus that all historical specimens are a product of hybridization (Nowak, 2002; Reich et al., 1999; Roy et al., 1994, 1996; Wayne et al., 1992, 1998). Hybridization between wolf and coyote has long been recognized (Nowak, 2002). Two recent studies make the strongest case for separation. Wilson et al. (2000) argued for separation of the Eastern Canadian Wolf (as Canis lycaon) and the Red Wolf (as Canis rufus) as separate species based on mtDNA, but see Nowak (2002) who could not find support for this in a morphometric study. Nowak (2002) in an extensive analysis of tooth morphology concluded that there was a distinct population intermediate between traditionally recognized wolves and coyotes, which warranted full species recognition (C. rufus). The red wolf is here considered a hybrid after Wayne and Jenks (1991), Wayne (1992, 1995), and Wayne et al. (1992). Although hybrids are not normally recognized as subspecies, I have chosen as a compromise to retain rufus because of its uncertain status. Also see Roy et al. (1994, 1996), Vilá et al. (1999), and Nowak (2002) who provided an excellent review of the situation.

Now all we need to do is translate all that into encyclopedic language. You go first! Chrisrus (talk) 02:34, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

So if it was originally considered a subspecies and its current status as a species is still being debated why is Wikipedia leading with it as being a unique species? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:11, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

I know this comment is a little over four years old, but I still have to ask the same thing. The classification of lycaon as a separate species instead of a subspecies of C. lupus remains very much disputed, with the underlying studies being questioned, and isn't recognized as such in MSW3, which is our usual authority on these matters. So why do we list it as such? oknazevad (talk) 15:18, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
If eastern and red wolves are not considered separate species, are there valid reasons that they are considered subspecies of Canis lupus instead of Canis latrans? Editor abcdef (talk) 11:10, 24 April 2015 (UTC)
Hello Chrisrus, oknazevad and Editor abcdef. I apologise for the late reply, as I just stumbled on this article while searching for something else. On the one hand I agree that we should have standardization across Wikipedia. On the other, I regard Mammal Species of the World as outrageously out of date (2005) on a number of issues because its business model has failed. There was supposed to be a new release "coming shortly", according to its website - that was over 2 years ago. We need a 24/7 real-time database that is kept up to date, not a book that might be published when someone can organize it, which clearly now they cannot. If zoologists want to regard some wolves as sub-species of Canis lupus, that is fine - evolutionary biologists do not based on a 2.8 billion letter DNA code. I am leaning towards what the geneticists find if: (1) the study was published in a respected, peer-reviewed journal, and (2) the specimens were wide - i.e. a number of specimens that would not represent relatives carrying the same mutation. Regards, William Harristalk • 10:04, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
The issue, as always, is what exactly is the dividing line between species? There actually is no objective criteria to answer that question. The existence of subspecies along a continuum and hybridization (which it turns out is a lot more common throughout the world than previously thought) with closely related species (Includimg genetic introgression that becomes so widespread as to be found in every member of a given population) makes it very difficult to actually answer the question "what is a species?".
Morphology, the classic methodology, is almost entirely useless because similar conditions will reinforce the natural selection of similar physical traits. So we turn to genetics. But genetic surveys, while they can tell us how closely two individuals or two populations are related, they cannot actually tell us whether those are separate species or just at the extremes of genetic diversity within the same species, because that dividing line is not objective and fixed. Genetic surveys are not the be-all-end-all of determining speciazation.
That's my concern with jumping on the latest survey. Over the past three years alone we've seen one survey say lycaon is a species, another day it isn't a year later, and a third saying it is one year after that. Clearly it is not a settled issue in the scientific community. All based on genetic studies and surveys of the existing literature. Similarly with the African "golden wolf" issue. I think we should be cautious in our editing so as not to state unsettled things as firm. oknazevad (talk) 16:03, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
I partially agree with you - DNA studies may give unresolvable results due to the specimens selected, the genome technology used, and the assumptions made by the researchers (Boyko 2009). There are six mutations (insertions-deletions of base pairs) in the mitochondrial control region separating the gray wolf from the domestic dog (Wayne 1999). When looking at ancient fossils, what do we call something that is 3 mutations away? Is it a wolf or a dog, or neither? Some researchers have found ancient specimens one mutation away from a dog and published it as a dog (Druzhkova 2013 - Altai dog), while others publish it as uncertain or wolf (Thalmann 2013 - Altai dog). There are 22 mutations separating the jackal from the wolf/dog line; what do we call something from the past that is 11 mutations away? With the explosion of DNA technology that allows extraction of ancient DNA from fossils, including whole-genome DNA (Skoglund 2015 - 35,000 year-old Taimyr wolf), these matters will need to be addressed very soon, else the confusion will compound. Regards, William Harristalk • 10:04, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
We don't like to change taxoboxes from MSW (2005) until new taxonomies show acceptance by multiple subsequent publications. We don't want to change taxoboxes while experts are still using the old MSW taxonomy in new publications in a primary way. Is that the case for the red wolf yet? Chrisrus (talk) 16:16, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
It is a bit of a circular situation - experts will stick with MSW, MSW isn't changing, experts aren't changing.......... Regards, William Harristalk • 10:04, 24 October 2015 (UTC)
As far as I see many experts use alternate taxonomy, the fact still stands that MSW is outdated by 10 years of scientific research. Despite that it's more an online database than a physical book, the creators never bothered to make any significant updates to it. Editor abcdef (talk) 04:33, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
Agreed abcdef. Although the Smithsonian: and Bucknell University: and ITIS: all make the extant species only from MSW available online, it is still based on the published MSW3 (2005). As you and I have discussed previously on other pages, my discussion above with oknazevad illustrates genetically why Bob Wayne has always referred to the ancestor as being "a wolf-like canid" - he believes that it may be lupus but at present we cannot be certain. Then Lee 2015 comes along and adds Canis variabilis into the dog/wolf mix! Regards, William Harristalk • 07:48, 25 October 2015 (UTC)
Are experts using the new or the old taxonomy? Chrisrus (talk) 15:57, 26 October 2015 (UTC)
Sorry Chris, it was not clear to whom you were addressing your query. Regarding the Red wolf and the Eastern wolf I do not know as I do not follow the species/sub-species of wolf and who is saying what - there are many other editors here on Wikipedia with a knowledge of, and passion for, wolves without me interfering. My interest is in the dog ancestor and therefore the Late Pleistocene northern holarctic wolves. (My 'venn diagram' of interest covers only the dog's ancestor, the divergence, the ancestral dog and ancestral grey wolf, and any other canid that might be in that mix - which is where my venn diagram overlaps that of Mario's regaring the Megafaunal and Beringian wolves. My interest ends with the split of the ancestral grey wolf into its extant subspecies, and the ancestral dog when it split into the dingo/domestic dog lineage and the first recognised dog at Eleesivich I 15,000 years ago.) Regarding geneticists using ancient DNA and their taxonomy for dogs, some have never accepted MSW3. Druzhkova 2013 classified the "Altai dog" as Canis familiaris. Some other researchers also do (Coppinger 2001 p281, Nowak 2003 p257, Crockford 2006 p100, Bjornenfeldt 2007 p21) but most refer to the dog as C.l. familiaris. Lee 2015 is possibly the way of the future, she simply classified her 6 "dogs" as Canis sp and deposited their sequences with Genbank! Interestingly, if you venture over to the "Dog behavior" article under the References section you will find that most behaviorists publish using the term Canis familiaris - they know it doesn't behave like the grey wolf, especially the feral ones. (One in particular, wolves only defend territory if there is safety in pack size or a food shortage; a feral dog will defend territory every time, against any number, to the death. Single male dogs have died trying to defend their territory where it overlapped with wolf-pack territory. Which one of the two would you encourage to take up residence and guard the entrance to your cave?) Regards, William Harristalk • 09:02, 27 October 2015 (UTC)

As far as I am concerned, this isn't a real "controversy". While the question of possible hybridization has actual substance, the distinction between species and subspecies is largely conventional, and the pragmatic approach would be listing C. lupus lycaon and C. lycaon simply as synonyms (as the taxobox indeed does). Taxonomy is burdened with a considerable load of historical synonyms for "backward compatibility" with older literature anyway, so this is nothing out of the ordinary. Fwiiw, wikispecies has a redirect but does not actually mention C. lycaon as a synonym yet. --dab (𒁳) 10:00, 20 January 2016 (UTC)


I have raised the article's quality scale rating from Start class to C class. Someone might like to take that huge second sentence and relocated it under Taxonomy, with just a short summary left in the intro. COSEWIC is covered in both para 2 and para 3 - some merging might be done here as well. With a bit of tidying up it warrants a B. Regards, William HarrisWikiProject DogsWikiProject Mammalstalk • 08:41, 25 October 2015 (UTC)

Based on the tidy-up conducted by an editor in January, I have raised the quality of this article from C to B.  William Harris |talk WikiProject DogsWikiProject Mammals 09:01, 28 October 2016 (UTC)


Turns out it's a hybrid after all.Mariomassone (talk) 17:46, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

Updating taxonomy[edit]

I will be updating the Canidae taxonomy and common names to match Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed, 2005) as follows:

I will hold off for a few days for comments. Since I'm posting this in multiple places, please contact me on my talk page if you have any concerns. I'll wait a week to give folks time to comment. -

A signature may have helped editors to do that. William Harris • (talk) • 10:46, 13 March 2017 (UTC)