For thousands of years, wolves hunted buffalo across the vast North American plains, until the westward settlement of the continent saw the virtual extinction of these vast herds and their eternal predators. However, this ancient relationship was not lost altogether and continues uninterrupted in only one location: the northern edge of Canada’s central plains in a place named Wood Buffalo National Park. Today, the descendants of those ancient buffalo and wolves still engage in epic life-and-death dramas across this northern land. Their story is captured in thrilling cinematic glory by a lone filmmaker who has followed them for more than 20 years.
The coywolf, a mixture of western coyote and eastern wolf, is a remarkable new hybrid carnivore that is taking over territories once roamed by wolves and slipping unnoticed into our cities. Its appearance is very recent – within the last 90 years – in evolutionary terms, a blip in time. Beginning in Canada, but by no means ending there, the story of how this new hybrid came to be is an extraordinary tale of how quickly adaptation and evolution can occur, especially when humans interfere.
Examine dogs’ roles as guard, hunter, herder, hauler and spiritual protector, as well as theories about the wolf’s evolutionary leap. Swedish geneticist Peter Savolainen’s analysis of DNA from breeds around the world points to a single origin in East Asia thousands of years ago.