Is it a wolf, dog, a wolf/dog hybrid or something else? That's what scientist are trying to determine after a rancher in Montana shot and killed a strange wolf-like creature.
According to CBS News, the animal was shot on a ranch outside Denton on May 16, but some say it looks as if it came out of the Ice Age. It resembles a wolf, except some features are a bit off. It has long grayish fur, a large head and a snout; but its ears are too large, its legs and body too short, and its fur is unlike that of a wolf.
"We have no idea what this was until we get a DNA report back," Bruce Auchly, information manager for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, told The Great Falls Tribune.
Social media is abuzz with people commenting on what they believe the animal is.
"That's a grizzly cub," one commentator wrote. "Under a year and starving from the look.".
"Maybe a dire wolf," wrote another commenter, "because I don't believe they are all gone."
Another speculated it could be a creature called the Dogman.
"They’re spotted each day and the government quells any and all reports. Several people report being strong armed into keeping quiet about their reports by men wearing black suits. These are just facts. Look into if if you don’t believe it."
Ty Smucker, wolf management specialist for Montana FWP, is leaning toward the more likely answer that the creature is a wolf/dog hybrid.
"Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures," Smucker said. "The ears are too big. The legs look a little short. The feet look a little small, and the coat looks weird. There's just something off about it."
He said wolf/dog hybrids have caused problems with ranchers east of the Continental Divide for the past several years.
"We've had a few instances of wolf/dog hybrids out there," Smucker said. "One was out somewhere in eastern central Montana killing sheep like crazy. Finally, we caught it and it turned out to be a hybrid."
A DNA analysis of the creature should be completed within the next few weeks, which will provide the answers the scientists seek.
So, do you think it's a wolf/dog hybrid or something else?
Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.