A group of wolves living in the Himalayan mountains would break away, on an evolutionary level, from the classic grey wolves living in nearby areas and become what could be considered as a new species in the future.
This new species of wolves seems in fact to be able to face the thin air, the one that exists above 4000 meters of altitude, more efficiently than the more classic grey wolves.
These groups of wolves, which seem to extend in some areas of northern India, China and Nepal, would in fact be the first evidence of the existence of a species of “Himalayan wolf”.
This is not the first time that the idea of categorizing Himalayan wolves as a species distinct from wolves has been proposed. They are larger in size and have different habits.
For example, grey wolves eat mostly rodents, Himalayan wolves also feed on Tibetan gazelles.
The howls would also be different: Himalayan loops would emit howls shorter and with a lower frequency.
A team of researchers decided to learn more about this case by performing new tests and extracting DNA from the faeces of 86 Himalayan wolves. The DNA was then compared with that of “classic” wolves and dogs.
The researchers published their results in the Journal of Biogeography.
DNA analysis confirms that Himalayan wolves have specialised genes to counteract the lack of oxygen that can occur at certain altitudes, unlike grey wolves.
These are true evolutionary adaptations, similar to those found in the bodies of humans living in Tibet and their dogs.
For these reasons, considering also the genetic specialization, researchers believe that Himalayan wolves should be considered as a distinct species.
This new language would have started to be “independent”, evolutionistically speaking, already 400,000 years ago.