Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Yellowstone National Park: Genetic researchers pinpoint origin of Yellowstone’s black wolves


In the Yellowstone National Park they have somehow gotten black wolves in their park however they never had any wolves with black coats. Usually the black wolves are usually found throughout the rocky mountains in the U.S through Canada. The farther north you go the more white wolves you find which are Arctic wolves and by the central by the Great Lakes states you will find more gray wolves and very few black wolves. The things that determine black coat wolves such as camouflage, behaviors, finding mates, and thermoregulation. The genetics study that was conducted on the two breeding groups of wolves can only produce gray wolves. What created this black coat color in the wolf population is our own dogs. Domestic dogs around 7,000 years ago were first introduced to the wolf population when domestic dogs breed with wild wolves. They found this when conducting the genome experiment on the Yellowstone wolves, however they also found that it wasn’t just for colors. It also shows that black wolves do have a stronger immune system then regular wolves do. However there is a downside as well gray wolf genetics show that females have a higher success rate with their litter of pups then black coat wolves do. I found this article interesting because before I came to Stockton I remember when I was back at brookdale and they brought actual wolves in. One was 60% wolf and 40% German shepherd which the coat color was white, and the other one which did have a black was actually 90% wolf and 10% of something else I don’t think they really specified the other side. I find this interesting that man's best friend is what gave wolves another color to add to their populations. Not to mention years of repopulation the gene is still rare however it gets bigger due to the reintroduction into another population from breeding between them.  


If anybody is interested he had a Facebook live video of his presentation: 


  1. Article is really interesting with respects to a previous article I had posted about Scandinavian wolves. The article reviewed had brought the information with regards to a specific population of wolves in NE Europe where the wolves surprisingly did not have any evidence of dog genetic associated with this specific population. It had also spoken about the implications of having these genes in the population and some problems it may cause, but from the information provided by this study it seems that these wolves while not naturally having this genome in the wild it is beneficial for survival. It provides a rather happy reminder that while humans can do a lot of things to mess up nature, somethings end up being positive with respects to overall outcome. Will be interesting to see in the future where the benefits of these "invasive" genes may allow a population to survive and thrive or perhaps be detrimental to other wildlife. Only time will tell!

  2. This is a super interesting article. I have actually been to Yellowstone three times, but I have never seen a black wolf there... only gray wolves. Gray wolves were actually reintroduced into the park in 1995, and this really changed the park's ecosystem. I wonder what the population percentages are for each color coat? It is interesting that the black coat color is affected by things like thermoregulation, since the park gets very cold in the winter time. You would think that by having this trait, there would be a lot more black wolves, but if the gray wolves have a better reproductive success rate, than it makes sense that there would be more gray wolves. It will be interesting to see if any more wolf coat colors arise from interbreeding populations in the future.