The mystery of the strange wolf-like animal shot by a Montana rancher last month has been unraveled. The lupine creature has been confirmed to be a gray wolf by wildlife officials.
On May 16, a rancher just outside Denton, Montana, saw a weird wolf-like creature near livestock, per a report from KVAL 13. Before the animal could attack, the rancher killed it. When authorities from Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks showed up to investigate the kill, they were baffled.
“The canine teeth were too short, the front paws too small, and the claws on the front paw were too long” to be a normal wolf, authorities said in a release last month. To exactly identify the beast, samples taken from the body were sent to an agency lab in Bozeman, Montana, for examination. The carcass was then forwarded on to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services lab in Ashland, Oregon, for additional DNA testing.
A report published today by the Ashland lab said the creature looked just like any other wolf. Also contained in the report was a confirmation from DNA testing that the enigmatic creature was a gray wolf. It was a female between 2 and 3 years old. Experts with U.S. Fish and Wildlife say it is quite common for gray wolves to vary in physical appearance, which led to the confusion when first trying to identify the animal.
As reported previously by the Inquisitr, pictures of the lupine creature were posted to social media not long after it was killed, creating widespread speculation and theories as to what the animal could be. Some thought it was a starving grizzly bear cub, while others speculated it to be a prehistoric and now-extinct “dire wolf.” Others proposed the odd animal was a “crypto-canid species” known by conspiracy theorists as “Dogman” that is thought to roam the forests of North America.
More conventional theories suggested the beast was a wolf-dog hybrid. Wolf expert Ty Smucker, who also viewed the initial pictures of the dead creature, guessed it was likely the product of interbreeding between a domesticated dog and a wild wolf. While it is uncommon in the wild, it does happen.
Despite many who were hoping the rancher killed some creature of mystical origin, the animal turns out to be an ordinary wolf commonly found in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe some other day, someone will catch the elusive Dogman or even a werewolf, but DNA tests have verified that has not happened as of yet.