Wolves, Dogs, and Humans
Lamar Buffalo Ranch
Joanna Lambert, Ph.D.
Natural History, Wildlife
Archeological and genetic evidence has demonstrated that humans have a closer and more ancient history with wolves (and, ultimately, domestic dogs) than any other animal species on the planet. Wolves started self-domesticating themselves more than 36,000 years ago, scavenging near human hunting sites. Over time, this interaction resulted in humans selecting for traits that led to the fully domesticated wolf that we call "dog." Ironically, wolves remain one of the most persecuted species on the planet and have been exterminated throughout much of their range - an issue that ranges today throughout Europe and the United States, particularly around Yellowstone National Park. This Field Seminar will touch on these topics and give participants a rich understanding of just how unique our relationship is with Canis lupus - not just now, but in the evolutionary past as well.
The itinerary is designed to take advantage of the best opportunities in the park, but may be adjusted to adapt to weather conditions, wildlife activity, holidays, and road construction. The details and timing of the agenda are subject to change. For more information please read the Course Letter below.
- Day 1
Participants are welcome to check into the Lamar Buffalo Ranch starting at 4:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. Meet & Greet, Introduction to Lamar Buffalo Ranch and course specifics.
- Days 2-4 Wildlife Watching and Observations
Participants will spend each morning in the field looking for wolves and observing their behavior, with the idea of spending as little time in the vehicle as possible. If other canids are encountered (red fox, coyote), observation will be made of them as well. Emphasis will be on the northern range and Hayden Valley. After a morning spent in the field, students will return to the Lamar Buffalo Ranch for lunch, a bit of down time, then a lecture. Each late afternoon the students will be given the option of going on a guided natural history hike in which animals will be observed. Depending on time, an early evening animal viewing drive might also be an option.
- Day 5
Check out by 9:00 a.m.
About the instructor
Joanna Lambert, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder. She has a deep passion for the natural world, resulting in a career spent publishing and teaching about the behavior, ecology, and conservation biology of wild mammals, especially primates and carnivores. Her research has taken her to every continent on the planet, though she has spent the most time (30 years) in equatorial Africa and especially enjoys doing research and teaching in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
We are continually updating and refining our COVID-19 mitigation measures to ensure the health and safety our guests, staff and volunteers. Read our COVID-19 guidelines for program participants.