Hooray science! Here’s an intensely weird mental image to enjoy: Scientists are theorizing that the prehistoric ancestors of the now-extinct Falkland Islands wolf (RIP, 1876) got there by way of “ice-skating” across the frozen ocean during the last Ice Age. The creature’s presence had perplexed Darwin, but with the advent of DNA testing, scientists are developing a more complete picture of how the Falkland Islands wolf got to be on the islands:
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The reddish coyote-sized Falkland Islands wolf was the only mammal native to the Falkland Islands far off the east coast of Argentina. The foxlike predator lived on seals, penguins and sea birds until hunters exterminated it in 1876.
The existence of the Falklands wolf perplexed Darwin when he first encountered it in 1834. “How did this great big carnivore arrive to a set of islands 460 kilometers (285 miles) from the nearest mainland when no other terrestrial mammal did?” asked researcher Alan Cooper, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Adelaide in Australia.