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Mystery Animal Wasn't Such a Mystery

Creature shot by rancher in Montana turns out to be a gray wolf
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2018 1:32 PM CDT
This undated file photo provided by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks shows the paw of the animal that was shot in May. It turned out to be a gray wolf.   (Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks via AP, File)
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(Newser) – The mystery is over: Wildlife officials have confirmed that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was merely a gray wolf. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks officials initially weren't certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it in May, noting that its legs, front claws, and canine teeth were shorter and its ears were bigger than those normally seen on wolves. But an inspection of the animal at the agency's laboratory, including DNA tests, revealed it to be a 2- or 3-year-old female gray wolf, though one with unique physical features. US Fish and Wildlife Service geneticist Mary Curtis says it's not unusual for there to be physical variations of animals within a species, per the AP. Some online were hoping it turned out be an extinct dire wolf or a mythical "dog man," notes the Spokesman-Review. (Read more gray wolf stories.)

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