Introduction: Why is it important? .
Humans, in the western world, have always shown animosity and fear towards wolves. Childhood stories such as "The little Red Riding Hood" reflect the haunting fear of wolves at the time as vicious and efficient killers. Although these wolves appear menacing at times, there is no known record of human casualties from wolves in either Canada or the United States. In British Columbia, the wolves have been hunted, poisoned, and brutally killed for threatening the livestock and the game population in the area. As urbanization continues to increase, the wolves are being egregiously exterminated. Not only do wolves play a pivotal role in maintaining the environment's food chain, but they can also teach us the importance of loyalty and social structure. Without wolves in British Columbia, the demise of the inexplicable link between nature and humans seem imminent. Wolves are one of the critical species to the environment in maintaining balance and harmony in nature. With the onslaught of industrialization and the increase in the human population, wolves are in danger of extinction. .
This project focuses on the general understanding of wolves, including environmental significance, to search for a way of preventing their demise. To understand wolves more critically and beneficially, the project will touch upon the origin and evolution, physical characteristics, and their social behavior, and most importantly the wolves' relationship with humans and the environment. .
II. General Understanding .
1. Origins and Evolution .
Many biologists speculate that wolves descended from primitive carnivore known as creodonts. They were a smaller version of the modern day dogs and first appeared 52 million years ago. As creodonts evolved, they slowly transformed into the first canid species called the dawn-wolf, a possible descendent of the feline species. Robert Wayne from the University of California strongly believes that a number of wolf like canid species branched off from the common ancestor, creodonts, two million years ago.