Celebrate Wolfenoot, the new wolf holiday

Somewhere in New Zealand, a seven-year-old boy had an idea to celebrate the spirit of the wolf. His mom shared it on Facebook. And over the course of just a few days, thousands of people, many desperate for something happy after a miserable week, joined the call to celebration.

This is Wolfenoot.

A holiday where we get presents and feast on roasted meat and cake for being kind to dogs?

YES, PLEASE.

I first heard of Wolfenoot when a friend shared author Jax Goss's Facebook post, and joined the enthusiastic chorus of people planning their Woolfenoot feasts. I reached out to Jax through Twitter to ask how her son created Wolfenoot.

There's not a huge amount of background really. I have a very imaginative child who is always coming up with stuff like this. I've been posting the crazy awesome and weird things he says for as long as he's been saying things. ;) This one just exploded.

I'm not sure where he got this from, to be honest. When I asked him, he said "from my brain". Hehe. Very helpful that. ;) But I am a writer, editor and publisher. I am also a folklore nerd, so he has grown up in a house with a lot of books and stories and fairytales. I have a masters in children's literature, so there are stacks of books in our house. He reads avidly - well above his age level. I think maybe just growing up among all that story has kinda seeped into his brain.

Read the rest

'Game of Thrones' filming locations to reopen as tourist attractions in Northern Ireland

Game of Thrones fans will have a chance to walk through Winterfell.

HBO has announced plans to convert several of their filming sets located in Northern Ireland into tourist attractions, as the show ends its historic run in 2019. Read the rest

Watch this very good boy fearlessly escape a pack of wolves

While bopping around Italy's Abruzzo National Park, zoologist Paolo Forconi witnessed a pack of three young wolves assaulting a garden variety house pooch. While it takes a few nips from the wolves, their young jaws, according to Forconi, weren't able to do much damage. Tthe dog was able to make its escape through a small hole in a fence. Read the rest

Highway wolves

The music is "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys:

Read the rest

Wolf chases goat across sheer cliff

In this video, a hungry wolf chases a small goat across the face of a sheer, crumbling cliff. The wolf wins. Read the rest

The Wolves of Currumpaw – A true story about Lobo, a wolf from the Old West

The Wolves of Currumpaw

by William Grill

Flying Eye Books

2016, 80 pages, 9.7 x 12.1 x 0.6 inches

$14 Buy a copy on Amazon

In the early 1800s, half a million wolves roamed North America, but by 1862 settlers began pouring in from Europe and the landscape started to change. “These were the dying days of the Old West and the fate of wolves was sealed in it," begins The Wolves of Currumpaw.

The Wolves of Currumpaw, released today, is a true story about a wolf named Old Lobo, and a skilled hunter, Ernest Thompson Seton. Lobo was part of notorious pack of wolves in 1893 who, for five years, raided the ranches and farms of the Currumpaw Valley in New Mexico. Nobody was able to catch the stealthy wolf, and the locals began to think Old Lobo, or the King as they called him at the time, possessed supernatural charms. The locals finally offered $1000 to anyone who could catch him. Expert hunters set out to track him and hunt him down, but like the Terminator, Lobo couldn’t be killed – until Canadian-raised Seton came into town.

SPOILER paragraph: The story ends tragically, and might not be appropriate for more sensitive children. Seton does succeed in taking Lobo down, a section of the book that was hard for me to read. But then Seton has deep regrets and becomes a changed man. As a writer and sudden activist, Seton devoted the rest of his life to raising awareness about wolves. Read the rest

Genetic study suggests dogs emerged independently from two wolf populations

The origin of dogs is a hot topic among biologists, who've fought over whether there's a single point of origin from wolves and when and where it (or they) happened. A new study suggests the answer is twice, independently, from populations of wolves in western Europe and in east Asia. But they interbred, so most modern dogs are descended from both western and eastern groups.

The geographic and temporal origins of dogs remain controversial. We generated genetic sequences from 59 ancient dogs and a complete (28x) genome of a late Neolithic dog (dated to ~4800 calendar years before the present) from Ireland. Our analyses revealed a deep split separating modern East Asian and Western Eurasian dogs. Surprisingly, the date of this divergence (~14,000 to 6400 years ago) occurs commensurate with, or several millennia after, the first appearance of dogs in Europe and East Asia. Additional analyses of ancient and modern mitochondrial DNA revealed a sharp discontinuity in haplotype frequencies in Europe. Combined, these results suggest that dogs may have been domesticated independently in Eastern and Western Eurasia from distinct wolf populations. East Eurasian dogs were then possibly transported to Europe with people, where they partially replaced European Paleolithic dogs.

Read the rest

Huskies howl at video of howling Siberian Husky

Crank it up and freak out your dogs, people! Read the rest

Wolf puppies are hunting for mice in the meadow

“Wolf puppies hunting for mice. Polar Park 2014.” Read the rest

Wolves sing along to folk song in the snow

Shawn James' American Sanctuary warms the cold Colorado winter enough to get the locals joining in. Read the rest

Raw venison for breakfast?

Wolf researcher Werner Freund chomps into a leg of deer at Wolfspark Werner Freund, in Merzig, Germany, earlier this year. (Photo: REUTERS/Lisi Niesner) Read the rest

Carn, by Jeff Le Bars

A bargain is betrayed in this animated story of boy meets wolf, with a terrible price. Read the rest

A collection of dire wolf skulls

This image shows fewer than 400 of the 1600+ dire wolf skulls found in the La Brea Tar Pits — natural seepages of asphalt that trapped thousands upon thousands of animals over centuries. Like most of you, I was familiar with what the tar pits were. But, until I visited last week, I hadn't really had a grasp of just how many animal remains have been found there. Seriously, the place is lousy with bones. As in, chunks of partially excavated asphalt look more like jumbles of bone held together with some hardened goop.

For the record, dire wolves really did exist, and they really were larger than modern wolves — but not as much larger as you might imagine from reading Game Of Thrones. There's a lot of overlap in the Bell Curves here, with the average dire wolf probably having been about the same size as the larger specimens of modern grey wolves.

Meanwhile, there are people trying to breed a dog that fits the fantasy of pet dire wolves — really big, really wolfy, and yet somehow well-behaved. It is not, however, terribly like the real-life dire wolf, in looks or genetics. Read the rest