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The eastern coyote, a wild N. American canine with coyote-wolf and dog parentage (wikipedia.org)
47 points by curtis on Feb 26, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 11 comments

There's a Nature documentary about the Eastern Coyote/Coywolf called, appropriately enough, "Meet the Coywolf," available on pbs.org[1]. It was surprisingly non-fluffy for a Nature documentary and if you're interested in learning more, it's a good place to start.

You can also probably find it elsewhere if you're not a supporter of your local PBS station, but I'll leave that search up to everyone and their conscience.

[1] https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/coywolf-meet-the-coywolf/

Also featured recently on the New Hampshire Public Radio podcast Ouside/In http://outsideinradio.org/shows/coydogs

Besides the very interesting insight into how evolution, speciation & fauna dynamics in general work, it is always interesting seeing people's reactions to the classification problems these grey areas pose.

Species, taxa, subspecies, hybrids, populations, chronospecies, trunk species, type species.... All words describing a fundamentally non discreet thing. Yet, knowing that, we (anywhere from casual readers to biology taxonomists) get stressed and obsessed when our leaky categorisations leak.

It's a good reminder that we're natural categorizors. Our minds are all about instances and abstract truths. Lassie the dog, coyote the canid, Socrates the philosopher.

The name of a species is fixed to a specific "holotype". Oetzi is the only neanderthal; archeopterix had different names for each of the first specimen found; Carl von Linee is the holotype for Homo Sapiens Sapiens, according to some taxonomists, at least (himself, I guess) ... Exactly because this is a known problem. A single individual is as discrete as it gets.

In linguistics this problem is called the single other hypothesis and rater popular. In programming and math it's the diamond square problem, e.g. for java's inheritance mechanism, which is countered with generics, traits, typeclasses and so on. Abstract Algebra and Category theory have to deal with this and the corollary from my POV is, that it's just really complicated.

Before genetics, phenotype was based on appearance. Genetic genealogy is a rather young field, so it might take a while for deeper insights to trickle down. Also, it's not completely wrong to base a classification on environment, because a protein to synthesis X from Y is useless, if the environment doesn't provide Y.

A single individual you say? I present to you the clonal colony and the synctium.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clonal_colony https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syncytium

I agree, yet we're still kind of uncomfortable with species not being discreet across one or more of these taxonomical approaches.

"single mother", "rather" ... my keyboard is broken

I spent a lot of time tracking them through the forest when I was younger. If you live in the northeast, get a copy of this book[1]. The difference between a coyote's tracks and a domestic dog's tracks teaches something interesting about the difference between a non-domesticated human and a domesticated human.

[1] https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062735249/tracking-and-the...

Check out Coyote America by Dan Flores. It's an amazing account of the coyote's spread across the continent in the face of extreme pressure to extirpate it in the west.

Eastern Coyote is a variety of Coywolf but it's not the only one: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coywolf

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