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Local Scientists Investigate Mysterious Animal's Species

A strange animal is being investigated by scientists in Ashland. This is after a rancher in Montana said this creature was terrorizing his livestock.

Posted: Jun. 5, 2018 6:21 PM

ASHLAND, Ore. -- A strange animal is being investigated by scientists in Ashland. This is after a rancher in Montana said this creature was terrorizing his livestock. People across the country have been chiming in on what they think it is.It’s stunned the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency. Last month, the agency initially described as wolf-like creature but after looking at it closer, they changed their minds.

"Something was not right about the animal. It doesn't look like a wild wolf. So with that question, 'what is it then?' the department has collected some samples for genetic testing and we've sent those--we will be sending those samples off," said the agency’s Wildlife Management Section Chief Quentin Kujala.

Those samples were sent to the United States Fish and Wildlife National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Ashland. It's the only lab in the United States with the proper tools to figure out what the mystery animal is and properly debunk what social media thinks it could be. Sorry everyone, scientists say it's not a chupacabra.

Senior Forensics Scientist Mary Burham Curtis said they see wolf-dog and even coyote-dog hybrid cases quite often. A lot goes into trying to figure out what an unknown animal might be. First, they use their own experience to determine whether it’s a fish, mammal, bird, etc. Then they compare that animal's DNA to ones they already have.

"We'll take a sample of something, extract the DNA, multiply that particular marker. So we have a database now of different species for that marker and we can do a comparison when we get the sequence from the piece from the unknown one that we're looking at," she said.

Now in terms of this mysterious, potentially wolf- dog creature, it may take some time to figure out what it is exactly. That all depends on their work loads.

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