A mystery wolf creature has been discovered in Montana, and the internet is on fire trying to determine exactly what it is.
Montana's Fish, Wildlife, and Parks department reports that on May 16th, a rancher observed the animal approach his livestock; at which point, he shot and killed it.
Following the encounter, the rancher reported the incident to FWP. However, the appearance of the anomalous mammal, has left "Wildlife officials and the public, wondering what it was."
In a press release, FWP confirms that the "wolf-like" animal was, in fact, "A young, non-lactating female, and a canid, a member of the dog family."
However, beyond that they, and everyone else, are stumped. FWP wolf specialists took an opportunity to investigate the animal and "Collectively doubted" that it was a purebred wolf, "the canine teeth were too short, the front paws too small, and the claws on the front paw were too long."
Instead of speculate on the enigma's origin or exact species designation, FWP sent the carcass to their lab in Bozeman, "There tissue samples will be collected, and then shipped to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon.
The timetable of receiving word back from the lab depends on case backlog. "All of which means it may be awhile (possibly weeks or months) before anyone really knows what the animal near Denton really was."
In the meantime, the internet has already taken it upon itself to provide numerous possible answers as to this intriguing question. Social media has named the animal in question everything from werewolf to direwolf to even "BOLF," which would be a hybrid of bear and wolf.
POSSIBLE DIRE WOLF?!?!— ?????????????? ?????? (@buckeyenichole) May 25, 2018
It’s a Werewolf that didn’t quite get changed back.— EmileTatum (@SRetsil) May 25, 2018
It’s half dog, half wolf, half man. Mandogwolf.— Alex Clinton (@Alex22406) May 25, 2018
Yes yes, it must be the dogman the government doesn't want you to know about.— Tim J (@Timbrucej) May 25, 2018
Only time, and a exorbitant amount of testing, will tell whether or not humankind has discovered something as exciting as a new sub-species of wolf or as bizarre as Montana's own version of a Chupacabra.
*All canid photos courtesy of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks