What are the distinct characteristics of a Himalayan wolf?


Quick Answer

The Himalayan wolf is a type of wolf found in India, Nepal, China and the Himalayas. It is characterized by distinctive sinuses, a longer-than-average muzzle, light tan or gray coloring, and a special layer of woolly fur that is not found in other wolves.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

In 2009, these wolves were nominated as a separate species, Canis himalayensis, distinct from the Tibetan wolf with which they were previously classified. This change in the classification is based on genetic and physical differences.

Previously the Himalayan wolf was considered to be a part of the Tibetan wolf subspecies, or Canis lupis chanco. Mitochondrial evidence suggest that Himalayan wolves are not related to Tibetan wolves because their DNA has none of the markers associated with dogs, who are descended from other wolf species. This would suggest that the Himalayan wolves split off from other wolf species between 800,000 and 1.5 million years ago, which is when the Tibetan Plateau separated from the rest of the continent. However, some scientists believe that the mitochondrial evidence is too inconclusive to place Himalayan wolves in another species.

Even before the existence of DNA testing, some taxonomists classified the Himalayan wolf as a separate species based on its physical characteristics.

Learn more about Wolves

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What eats a wolf?

    A: The wolf is at the top of its food chain and is not hunted by any other animals, although the wolf itself is a carnivore and does hunt other animals. Human... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does a wolf eat?

    A: Wolves are carnivores and mainly eat large mammals, the exact species varying depending on the location. They also supplement their diet with fruits such a... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a young wolf called?

    A: A young wolf is called a pup. The average number of pups born at once is between four and six. This is the litter, and the siblings are called litter mates... Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What sound does a wolf make?

    A: A wolf makes four primary sounds, namely howling, barking, whimpering and growling. It combines these four sounds into actions such as howl-whimpering or b... Full Answer >
    Filed Under: