An Addendum to The Truth about the Red Wolf’s Status as a Species

I asked Ronald Nowak if he knew where the red wolf fossil found in Fern Cave, Jackson County, Alabama was.  (Ronald Nowak is one of the world’s foremost authorities on recent canine evolution and morphology.) He did.  He said it’s located in the U.S. National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.  It is specimen #348063, and it is in the mammalogy collection, not the paleontology collection because it appears to be 100-200 years old.  Although Pleistocene-aged fossils were found in Fern Cave, the wolf skeleton doesn’t look as old as the others.

He agrees this specimen would help clarify the red wolf’s status as a species.  It’s a complete skeleton including the skull.  It even has a thin layer of nonskeletel material (skin?), but not fur as I originally assumed.  He wrote that for years he’s been trying to get molecular biologists interested in this specimen, but so far they have ignored it.  Hopefully, some day they’ll analyze it.  There should be plenty of mtDNA and material for carbon dating.

8 Responses to “An Addendum to The Truth about the Red Wolf’s Status as a Species”

  1. Mark LaRoux Says:

    Mark, do you know if anyone ever tested #348063?

  2. The Secret World of Red Wolves by T. Delene Beeland | GeorgiaBeforePeople Says:

    […] chapter to inform her about the centuries old red wolf skeleton found in Fern Cave, Alabama.  (See😉  She responded and told me she is already “profiling” that specimen but “the […]

  3. Mark LaRoux Says:

    I may have just lucked into getting an opportunity to get a genetic sample from this specimen. What’s your email address? I may need some technical help with a ‘Destructive Sampling Application’ I’m going to try through Huntsville based HudsonAlpha, Inc.

    • markgelbart Says:

      My email address is

      Since I’ve written this post, a scientist has obtained a sample of the specimen mentioned above and she’s studying its DNA. Hopefully, we’ll get an answer pretty soon as to what the original wolf that lived in the southeast was.

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