While it was clear the creature was a female canid—a mammal of the dog family, which also includes foxes, coyotes and wolves—and shared many characteristics of a wolf—such as long grayish fur, a large head, and elongated snout—officials also noted some unusual features.
“Several things grabbed my attention when I saw the pictures,” Ty Smucker, a wolf management specialist at MFWP told the Great Falls Tribune (GFT). “The ears are too big. The legs look a little short. The feet look a little small, and the coat looks weird. There’s just something off about it.”
The carcass has now been sent to the MFWP’s lab where tissue samples will be taken from the animal. These will then be transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon where DNA samples will be compared to those of known species.