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Wolf Jaw Bone Id


heysharkie

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Greetings,

I need help identifying this jaw bone. It looks to me like any wolf jaw bone I have seen. However, wolves only recently returned to the region it was found and it appears old.. at least to me. I would like to identify it and to learn how to posatively identify differences between wolf jaw bones and dogs. I'm also interested in any good reference on the subject I might aquire.

Thank you for any help!!

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post-18071-0-80582200-1428640641_thumb.jpg

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Harry Pristis

Size measurements are a crucial factor in distinguishing between wolf and other canids.

Start off by giving us the dimensions of the carnassial -- length of crown and width.

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Just eyeballing it with the help of a reference (Gilbert, 1990), I would have to side with those saying coyote. On page 254 there's an illustration of a coyote jaw and then on the facing page there's one of a wolf. The coyote jaw length is given as 152mm (roughly 6 inches) and the wolf jaw length is given as 197mm (roughly 7 3/4 inches). Your jaw looks to be about 166mm (6 1/2 inches) and looks about as deep as the coyote but not as deep as the wolf. You need to put a tape measure (or should it be done with calipers?) right onto the jaw to get precise measurements as noted by Harry and that might make a difference.

The measurements in the book are averages and there are going to be individuals larger and smaller but it looks closer to a coyote than a wolf.

You might want to look for Nowak (1979) as well.

Gilbert, B.M. 1990.

Mammalian Osteology. Missouri Archaeological Society, INC.

Nowak, R.M. 1979.

North American Quaternary Canis. Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 6:1-154.

It's not coyote. Much heavier.

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Thank you for the super reply. I'll put a tape measure on it. I have several coyote jaw bones. it's much heavier. I'll go get a calliper too. I apreciate the help. Sorry for the delay.

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The heaviness of the jaw doesn't matter. If sediment has filtered into cracks in the bone, the jaw will be heavier whether it's a wolf, coyote, or modern dog.

Thank you for the super reply. I'll put a tape measure on it. I have several coyote jaw bones. it's much heavier. I'll go get a calliper too. I apreciate the help. Sorry for the delay.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thicker, bigger, longer, heavier.. no comparison. Compared to eastern and western coyote jaw. Will take pics for non believers but it does seem pointless

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This is compared to a jaw from a very large eastern coyote. Comparison to a small western want even comparable.

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Harry Pristis

The perspective in these images is misleading. Where are the dimensions of individual teeth -- the carnassial will suffice for a start -- the length and width of the crown in millimeters.

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Size ratio comparisons are tricky. Don't get misled just by the size. Your found jaw is actually much more gracile that the coyote in your picture, even though it is larger. The horizontal ramus is relatively less deep throughout; there is a longer diastema between the canine and the p2 (just ignore the p1, which isn't present in your coyote). I would look carefully at some of the domestic dog breeds with elongate mandibles, like salukis, greyhounds, wolfhounds, etc. They tend to have the premolars not as crowded and in a straight line, as does your found jaw.

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That is within the range of the coyote (Canis latrans) and completely outside the range of the wolf (Canis lupus). It is also within the range of domestic dogs, which vary from much smaller than any coyote to as large, or larger, than any wolf.

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Harry Pristis

Not a greyhound, not a hundred years old. It is most likely a coyote, Canis latrans, that died recently (a matter of months, not decades). That is the identification that Occam demands. Rich is correct in assessing the size range of the carnassial; and, if the jaw was found in a remote area, the best identification is coyote.

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RichW9090

You're welcome, heysharke. Always glad to try to help a newbie.

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Harry Pristis

Same size tooth so it must be a coyote.the two aren't even comparable. Wast of time.

Not a waste . . . Think of it as a learning experience for some of those who read the thread.

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