Sunday, April 3, 2011

In Honor of the Wolf ~ Old Gray Guy

Sunday howls, shapeshifter lovers. I just found this intriguing article, and thought I'd share the beginning of it here.

As far as I'm concerned Old Gray Guy [center of the photo] is welcome at Talbot's Peak anytime. As well, he may be hanging out at Dante's Interspecies Pleasure Club. Having fulfilled his genetic potential on the isolated island, I'll bet he's standing at stud, or maybe he's found his lifetime mate.

Poop Reveals Immigrant Wolf on Isolated Island

Jennifer Welsh, Livescience Staff Writer, – Sat Apr 2, 11:05 am ET

The wolves of Isle Royale in Lake Superior have been studied by scientists for more than 50 years, but they're still learning new tricks. The scientists discovered a new immigrant in the population by analyzing the genes in its poop.

The scientists, John Vucetich and Rolf Peterson, of Michigan Technological University, long thought that the wolves were an isolated group, because no other wolves could make it onto the island, located in Lake Superior. The wolf, called "The Old Gray Guy" crossed an ice bridge onto the island in 1997.

"Before this discovery, the Isle Royale wolf population had been considered completely isolated since it was founded in the late 1940s," Vucetich said in a statement.

Because Old Gray Guy was larger than many of the other wolves on the island, he became the alpha male of the Middle Pack, one of three packs on the island. As he's aged, his coat has become lighter, something not normally seen in Isle Royale wolves.

The group followed Old Gray Guy using his poop. They analyzed the DNA — the molecule that makes up an organism’s genetic code — from the animal's feces and found that he had several different copies of genes that the wolves originally on the island didn't. He most likely came from a geographically distinct population.

Because he brought fresh genes to the isolated population, Old Gray Guy is a perfect example of a phenomenon called "genetic rescue" — where new genes are introduced into a genetically stale population. This is important because small, isolated populations are more at risk for a loss of genetic diversity, which can make them more vulnerable to disease, for instance, and usually lead to their eventual downfall.

For the rest of the story ~


Savanna Kougar said...

Sunday howls...

Pat C. said...

"In my day, we had to chase the deer five miles uphill in the snow ... none of this cell-phone garbage, calling for take-out ... you young pups don't appreciate how easy you have it. Kids today, bah!" Old poop, indeed.

I think Dante's stud service/sperm donor center just found its first volunteer.

I can picture Old Gray Guy and Sergei playing chess in the park. Maybe he's Gypsy's uncle. He'd have to be an adopted uncle since he's timber and she's red. Or maybe he's related to Damien? The former alpha driven off when Sonny Boy took over the pack? Possibilities abound.

Savanna Kougar said...

Oooh, yes, possibilities do ABOUND!!! I'll bet Sergei and Old Gray Guy are regular chess players in the park.

Serena Shay said...

Hehe...where there's a will there is certainly a way. I bet all the she wolves were mighty happy to see Old Gray cross the lake!

Savanna Kougar said...

Serena, at least, they had some fresh stud meat... hehe...