Post by diane9247 on Apr 2, 2015 5:12:55 GMT
The answer to the question of migration did not come until 2013 at The University of Adelaide, Australia. Previous theories had the wolf floating on ice or logs, or having been brought by mainlanders as hunting dogs. Very early, it was observed that these wolves seemed like semi-domestic dogs, swimming to ships to meet the men, wagging their tails and being otherwise quite friendly.
(Photos are from the sources linked above.)
Dusicyon australis with a Magellanic penguin.
A specimen like this in New Zealand provided DNA for researchers in Australia.
From Darwin's 1838 The zoology of the voyage of HMS Beagle. Mammalia.
ast analysis of DNA from museum specimens of the Falklands wolf, including one that Darwin collected, revealed it was not a dog after all. Instead, its nearest living ancestor was the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) from the South American savannas, an odd predator resembling a red fox with almost stiltlike legs.
To help solve the mystery of how the Falklands wolf colonized the islands, [Alan] Cooper [of U. of Adelaide] and his colleagues compared its DNA with remains of what seemed like its closest extinct mainland relative, Dusicyon avus. This carnivore is similar to the Falklands wolf, save for smaller teeth and jaws.
The analysis suggested the Falklands wolf did not become isolated from its mainland cousins until about 16,000 years ago, before scientists think humans arrived this far south in South America. This time coincided with the last height of the ice age, when glaciers covered large portions of the planet. [Source]
Maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), only living relative of the Falklands wolf. (Source)
Further clues were the dramatically lower sea levels of that time and several mentions in the literature of submarine terraces off the coast of Argentina, "allowing the Falkland Islands wolf to cross when the sea was frozen over, probably while pursuing marine prey like seals or penguins," Professor Cooper says. So, mystery solved: the wolf walked to the Falklands, eating penguins and small seals along the way. Other mammals, such as rodents, were obviously ill-equipped to walk 285 miles over ice.
Download placemark and migration path here:
The extinct Falklands wolf.kmz (1.53 KB)