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HELENA, Mont. (AP) – The mystery is over: Wildlife officials have confirmed that an unusual-looking animal shot in central Montana was a gray wolf.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials initially weren’t certain what the creature was when a rancher shot it in May. They noted the legs, front claws and canine teeth were shorter and its ears were bigger than normally seen on wolves.

wolf paw Mystery Solved: DNA Tests Reveal Species Of Mystery Animal Shot In Montana

(Photo Credit: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks via CBS News)

The agency said Monday that an inspection of the animal at its laboratory revealed it to be a relatively normal-looking wolf. DNA tests confirmed that it was a gray wolf.

Officials say the wolf was a 2- or 3-year-old female with unique physical features.

montana mysterious wolf Mystery Solved: DNA Tests Reveal Species Of Mystery Animal Shot In Montana

Photo Credit: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks via CBS News

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service geneticist Mary Curtis says it’s not unusual for there to be physical variations of animals within a species.

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