Canis edwardii

Canis edwardii, also known as Edward's wolf,[2] is an extinct species of wolf in the genus Canis which was endemic to North America three million years ago from the Late Blancan stage of the Pliocene epoch and was extinct by the end of the Irvingtonian stage of the Pleistocene epoch.[3]: p4 

Canis edwardii
Temporal range: Blancan–Irvingtonian
Canis edwardii 2.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Canidae
Genus: Canis
C. edwardii
Binomial name
Canis edwardii
Gazin, 1942[1]
Timeline of Canis edwardii in red


Canis edwardii was named by Gazin in 1942.[1]

Xiaoming Wang and Richard H. Tedford proposed that the genus Canis was the descendant of the coyote-like Eucyon davisi and its remains first appeared in the Miocene (6 Mya) in the Southwestern USA and Mexico. By the Pliocene (5 Mya), the larger Canis lepophagus appeared in the same region, and by the Early Pleistocene (1 Mya) Canis latrans (the coyote) was in existence. They proposed that the progression from Eucyon davisi to C. lepophagus to the coyote was linear evolution.[4]: p58  Additionally, C. edwardii, C. latrans, and C. aureus thought to have formed a small clade together and because C. edwardii appeared earliest, spanning the mid-Blancan (late Pliocene) to the close of the Irvingtonian (late Pleistocene) it is proposed as the ancestor.[3]: p175, 180 

Canis priscolatransEdit

Late Pliocene-Early Pleistocene in North America.[5] The first definite wolf appeared in the Late Blancan/Early Irvingtonian,[6]: p240 [5][7] and named C. priscolatrans that was either very close to[8][9] or a synonym for Canis edwardii.[6]: p241 [5]: 82 [10][11] It resembled C. rufus in cranial size and proportions but with more complex dentition.[6]: p241  However, there are no fossils of C. rufus until the Late Rancholabrean.[6]: p242 

Björn Kurtén was uncertain if C. priscolatrans derived from C. lepophagus and C. arnensis,[9] but believed that C. priscolatrans was a population of large coyotes that were ancestral to Rancholabrean and recent C. latrans. He noted that C. arnensis of Europe showed striking similarities to C. priscolatrans, and they could represent what once was a holarctic population of coyotes.[8]: p27  R. M. Nowak disagreed, and believed that C. priscolatrans was a counterpart to the European C. etruscus.[5] Kurtén later proposed that both C. priscolatrans and C. etruscus were part of a group which led to C. lupus, but was not sure if they evolved separately from C. lepophagus or a possible common ancestor that was derived from C. lepophagus.[9]

The remains of the larger coyote-like C. edwardii have been found in the later Pliocene in the Southwestern USA along with C. lepophagus, which indicates a descent.[4]: p60  Tedford recognised C. edwardii[12] and found that the craniodental morphology of C. priscolatrans fell inside that of C. edwardii such that the species name C. priscolatrans was doubtful (nomen dubium).[3]: p131 


C. edwardii was larger than C. latrans and differs in skull and some tooth proportions.[3]: p129  , under this idea C.edwardii was a modest sized canid. A study of isotopes showed C. edwardii had a dietary overlap with the saber toothed cat Smilodon Gracilis, the large size of Smilodon Gracilis and its similar sized prey implied C. edwardii might have hunted in packs due to the size of the prey included in the study.[13]


  1. ^ a b Gazin, C.L. 1942. The late Cenozoic vertebrate faunas from the San Pedro Valley, Ariz. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 92: 475–518.
  2. ^ "Canis". Retrieved 2021-03-13.
  3. ^ a b c d Tedford, Richard; Wang, Xiaoming; Taylor, Beryl E. (2009). "Phylogenetic systematics of the North American fossil Caninae (Carnivora: Canidae)" (PDF). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History. 325: 1–218. doi:10.1206/574.1. hdl:2246/5999. S2CID 83594819.
  4. ^ a b Wang, Xiaoming; Tedford, Richard H.; Dogs: Their Fossil Relatives and Evolutionary History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d R. M. Nowak. 1979. North American Quaternary Canis. Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas 6:1-154 LINK:[1]
  6. ^ a b c d R.M. Nowak (2003). "Chapter 9 - Wolf evolution and taxonomy". In Mech, L. David; Boitani, Luigi (eds.). Wolves: Behaviour, Ecology and Conservation. University of Chicago Press. pp. 239–258. ISBN 0-226-51696-2.
  7. ^ Tedford, R.H. & Qiu, Z.-X., 1996 - A new canid genus from the Pliocene of Yushe, Shanxi Province - Vertebrata PalAsiatica 34 (1): 27-40
  8. ^ a b Kurten, B (1974) A History of Coyote-Like Dogs (Canidae, Mamalia). Acta. Zoo. Fennica 140:1-38. 1974.
  9. ^ a b c B. Kurten and E. Anderson. 1980. Pleistocene mammals of North America. New York: Columbia University Press. pp1-442
  10. ^ Anderson, E. 1996. A preliminary report on the Carnivora of Porcupine Cave, Park County, Colorado. In Palaeoecology and palaeoenvironments of late Cenozoic mammals: Tributes to the career of C. S. (Rufus) Churcher, ed. K. M. Stewart and K. L. Seymour. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 259–282
  11. ^ Albright, L. B., III. 2000. Biostratigraphy and Vertebrate Paleontology of the San Timoteo Badlands, Southern California. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 144:1–121
  12. ^ Fossilworks website Canis edwardii
  13. ^ Feranec, Robert S.; De Santis, Larisa (July 2014). "Understanding specifics in generalist diets of carnivorans by analyzing stable carbon isotope values in Pleistocene mammals of Florida". Paleobiology. doi:10.1666/13055.