Is the Mexican Gray Wolf North America’s Original Wolf?
The Pleistocene epoch (a.k.a. the “Ice Age”) lasted from about 2,600,000 to 12,000 years ago.
During the Pleistocene epoch, the Bering Land Bridge was episodically open to connect Alaska and Siberia. Serving as a corridor, the Bering Land Bridge provided an opportunity for different species including, mammoths, bison, muskoxen, caribou, lions, brown bears, and wolves to move into North America.
The fossil record indicates that the gray wolf (Canis lupus) first arrived in North America via this corridor approximately 500,000 years ago.
Who were those first North American wolves?
Genetic research suggests that Mexican gray wolves are deeply diverged from Eurasian and other North American gray wolf lineages, and are likely the descendants of one of the earliest colonization waves of wolves into North America!
So, the Mexican gray wolf could be North America’s original gray wolf!