A Surprising Idea About the Risks of Extinction. The tiny population of wolves on Isle Royale descended from a much larger group. What if that helped doom them?

The wolves of Isle Royale inspired Chris Kyriazis and his colleagues at UCLA to simulate animal populations over hundreds of generations. Their findings were counterintuitive: What doomed the wolves is not just the small number that have lived on the island in modern times, but perhaps also the large number of wolves that lived thousands of years ago. Kyriazis presented his study at the Evolution 2019 conference, and the team posted a preprint of the article, which has not been peer reviewed yet, on bioRxiv.

Image of Isle Royale wolf sourced from NPS.gov

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