Creature ID'd as coyote, not chupacabra
Fri Nov 2, 2007
The results are in: The ugly, big-eared animal found this summer in Cuero is not the mythical bloodsucking chupacabra. It's just a plain old coyote.
Biologists at Texas State University announced Thursday night that they had identified the hairless doglike creature.
San Antonio television station KENS provided a tissue sample from the animal for testing.
"The DNA sequence is a virtually identical match to DNA from the coyote (Canis latrans)," bioligist Mike Forstner said in a written statement. "This is probably the answer a lot of folks thought might be the outcome. I, myself, really thought it was a domestic dog, but the Cuero Chupacabra is a Texas Coyote."
Phylis Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 40-pound bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 90 miles southeast of San Antonio. Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she could get to get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity.
Forstner said the testing provided an opportunity to demonstrate how science answers questions.
Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico and Mexico.
"This is fun, not scary, but if people are worried about the chupacabra, it is probably even more important that we explain the mystery," he said. "Folks can fear what they don't understand, and a big part of the goal in science is to explain the natural world."
He said additional skin samples have been taken to try to determine the cause of the animal's hair loss.