Sweden’s wolf population isn’t related to dogs at all, a new study shows.
Researchers at Uppsala University used new methods to investigate the origin of Sweden’s wolf population.
Although Scandinavian wolves are thought to have more or less died out during the 1960s, the animal made a sudden comeback in the Värmland region two decades later.
Ever since then, researchers have attempted to find out the origin of these wolves, and there have been rumours that the wolves alive in Sweden today could actually be a crossbreed between wolf and dog.
But the Uppsala researchers found that the wolves weren’t related to dogs at all.
The new study shows that Sweden’s wolf population comes from the country’s northern neighbours, and that wolves may have never died out in Sweden at all.
“The research shows that the Scandinavian wolf population has a regional origin. It might be a case of wolves migrating from northern Europe or wolves that simply remained from the same group that at one time was widespread across Scandinavia,” said researcher Hans Ellegren.
Scientists looked at wolves’ DNA for the study, looking at the Y chromosome which is passed from father to son, and were thus able to follow the paternal line far back in time.