Analyzing the Wolverine Samples
DNA tests were carried out on the wolverine samples. From the sex region Y (SRY)and sex region X (SRX) tests, it was determined that the wolverine was a male.
The researchers used the software program Structure to compare the Wolverine genetic samples with those from wolverine specimens in the California museum as well as from wolverines from Yellowstone, Wyoming, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Ontario and the Yukon Territory.
The samples were also analyzed for their stable carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) isotope composition.
The Structure genetic analysis as well as the carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses showed that there was a close match between the unknown California wolverine and the wolverines from the Rocky Mountains in Idaho. There was no match with the museum specimens of the extinct Californian wolverines.
What the Researchers Concluded
The researchers published their findings in Northwest Science. Given the genetic similarity with the Rocky mountain wolverines, they think that the wolverine may have traveled to California all the way from the Rockies. Wolverines are known to travel over long distances. There is also the chance that someone might have released the animal in California.