The Taxonomic Status of Wild Canis in Kentucky

We assessed taxonomic status of wild canids in Kentucky using 13 cranial measurements on 143 known canid skulls in a multivariate statistical procedure to classify 56 unknown canid skulls from Kentucky. Discriminant function analyses revealed complete separation of canid taxa between coyotes and dogs, although coyote-dog hybrids had significant overlap with coyotes. Hybridization between coyotes and dogs in Kentucky occurred in less than 10% of unidentified canids. Our findings suggest that wild canids in Kentucky are best classified as coyotes, Canis latrans.

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